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NORMAN, Okla. – Norman police are investigating after former state Sen. Jonathan Nichols was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound inside his home.

Police confirmed in a press release Thursday they discovered the body of the 53-year-old inside his west Norman home after receiving a call Wednesday night of an individual with a gunshot wound.

Police say the case remains under investigation and that they are working with the medical examiner’s office to determine the exact cause and manner of his death.

Nichols is a former Republican state senator from Norman who served from 2000 to 2012. After that, he took staff positions with the state House, Senate and the University of Oklahoma.

“I am shocked and incredibly saddened to learn that Jonathan has passed away. He was a valuable member of my staff and a friend. Jonathan was a very proud man, but he served humbly. He was proud of his family and loved them deeply, he was proud of Norman and he was proud of Oklahoma. He was especially proud of his service to the state, as a prosecutor, as a state Senator and later as a valued and esteemed advisor for both Senate leadership and House leadership. He loved the rule of law and public safety, and he spent most of his career working tirelessly on those issues. His wife, Talitha, and his daughters, Jessica and Rachel, are in our prayers today,” said House Speaker Charles McCall.

“We mourn his loss deeply on behalf of his family but also on behalf of the OU family and everyone who believes public service is sacred and essential for a civil society. Jonathan will be missed by me, our OU family and the many people he served in his roles as senator, prosecutor and advocate for education,” Joseph Harroz Jr., interim president of OU.

“Jonathan Nichols was my dear friend and neighbor. He was a quiet, highly effective servant of the people. He distinguished himself in his ability to work across the aisle to try and make lives better,” Keith Gaddie, Ph.D., an OU Executive Faculty Fellow and colleague, said.