CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mecklenburg commissioner Neil Cooksey, who battled pancreatic cancer in recent years, passed away Wednesday.
Cooksey, 51, was diagnosed with cancer in February 2010. He later announced that he was cancer-free, though he told the Charlotte Observer recently he was diagnosed with an ailment several months ago that hurt his body’s ability to take in nutrients. He underwent surgery in mid-June.
"It is with an aching heart that I tell you, Neil passed away this afternoon," his family wrote publically Wednesday. "His long and arduous struggle with pancreatic cancer is finally over, and he won. He is now at peace, in heaven."
Cooksey, a Republican, served as a county commissioner since 2008, and was the final months of his second term. While on the board he pushed for bring “common-sense” solutions to county government, including calling on the county to hire an ethics officer amid a 2009 probe into its social services department. The board later approved a compliance officer position.
RIP Neil Cooksey...a very good man, a very good heart and a credit to those of us who serve the public.— anthonyfoxx (@anthonyfoxx) October 10, 2012
Cooksey decided not to seek re-election this year citing, in part, a desire to spend more time with his family and his job.
A graduate of Davidson College and the University of Michigan Law School, Cooksey was a member of Carmel Presbyterian Church. He is survived by three children.
County Commission Chairman Harold Cogdell added his thoughts in a statement to NBC Charlotte.
"Neil was a deeply respected colleague that served with sincerity and compassion," said Cogdell. "On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
In my experience Neil Cooksey was a fine man and a good public servant and I don't say that often. God bless you sir. We miss you.meckbocc— Stuart Watson WCNC (@whatnowCLT) October 10, 2012
The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.