EL DORADO, Ark. -- William C. Nolan Jr., the chairman of Murphy Oil Corp., has died after a brief illness. He was 72.

Nolan died Monday at the Medical Center of South Arkansas in El Dorado, Murphy Oil said. Nolan had served as Murphy Oil's chairman since 2002 and had been a director at the company since 1977.

Nolan had already announced his planned retirement for May 1, and Claiborne P. Deming will succeed Nolan as chairman, the El Dorado-based company said in a statement.

Nolan received his undergraduate degree from Yale in 1961 and his law degree from Yale Law School three years later. He also served as president of Noalmark Broadcasting Corp., which owns radio stations in Arkansas and New Mexico.

Nolan was the nephew of Charles Murphy Jr., who founded Murphy Oil. The company drills for oil and gas worldwide and has operations throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. -- AP

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