Ken Lay, the disgraced founder of Enron Corp. who was convicted in May on charges of fraud and conspiracy, has died.

Lay, who was 64, died of a heart attack at a family home in Aspen, Col. Lay’s pastor and lawyer both confirmed his passing.

On May 25, a Houston jury convicted Lay and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling in a criminal trial related to the demise of the energy trading company.

Lay was convicted on six counts of fraud and conspiracy linked to the downfall of the organization he helped build into the seventh-largest company in the United States.

Skilling was found guilty on 19 of the 28 charges he faced. He was convicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of insider trading, five counts of making false statements and 12 counts of securities fraud. He was acquitted on nine counts of insider trading.

Lay and Skilling had been scheduled for sentencing on October 23. Lay faced up to 45 years in prison, while Skilling faces a sentence of up to 185 years.

Lay was free on a US$5 million bond at the time of his death. He had been ordered to surrender his passport before he left the Houston courthouse where the trial was held.

Lay was also convicted on a count of bank fraud and three counts of making false statements to banks in a separate trial involving Lay’s personal banking. Lay faced a sentence of up to 120 years related to those convictions.

Enron went bankrupt in December 2001 following revelations that it had hidden huge losses by using fraudulent partnership deals. The losses were kept off the company’s balance sheet.

After the losses were revealed, the company’s stock plunged, wiping out billions of dollars of investors’ money.