Tony Rezko was sentenced to 10 and 1/2 years for corruption Tuesday morning, but he wil get credit for the time he has served.
Rezko, 56, asked the judge for mercy before she imposed his sentence, saying he took full responsibility for his actions.
He apologized to the court, his friends and family before he was sentenced.
A gaunt Rezko was clad in a prison uniform and shackled at the ankles. He bore little resemblance to the millionaire businessman he once was.
Rezko told the judge his brother, sister and favorite cousin passed away during his incarceration.
He also said no punishment could be greater than the guilt he feels for not being with them when they were dying.
Rezko's defense attorney Joe Duffy said the sentence "is harsh." Duffy said the defense is "very disappointed in the sentence."
He said he understands Judge Amy St. Eve was trying to send a message to the public, but he said the message and long punishments should go to corrupt public officials -- not private citizens.
He pointed to shorter sentences given to other defendants in Blagojevich-related cases. But prosecutors and St. Eve said those other defendants' cases were different.
Duffy said he isn't sure yet whether attorneys will appeal the sentence.
Rezko was convicted in a lengthy trial in the spring of 2008. He immediately made himself available to help with the investigations into former governor Blagojevich, Springfield powerbroker William Cellini and others.
His sentencing was delayed after the former real estate developer agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. But the government said he ultimately yielded no useful information.
Prosecutors used his information to bring down Blagojevich and to connect the dots in the pay to play politics Illinois has become notorious for. Rezko was held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center during Blagojevich's two trials but he was never called as a witness. Prosecutors said that was a tactical strategy.
Rezko's attorney said Rezko did hard time while cooperating with the government, spending more than three years in prison. He lost 80 pounds and looks somewhat sickly as compared to the robust frame he had before his conviction.
He was convicted of using his clout to shake down those who wanted to do business with the state. The charges are wire fraud, mail fraud corrupt solicitation, money laundering and attempted extortion.
In his plea for leniency, his attorney says Rezko was enchanted with the idea that he, an Assyrian immigrant, could participate in government. He was also shocked that Blagojevich wanted him to find ways for them to profit.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)