Bill Carpenter, the mayor of Brockton, Massachusetts, died at the age of 62, leaving city hall staffers and residents shocked and saddened.
He was found dead on Wednesday morning while out taking a family member to a summer program. He was in his third term as Brockton's 48th mayor, having first been elected in 2013.
"This is Bill Carpenter’s administration and we’re going to keep that moving forward," Brockton City Council President Moises Rodrigues said. "We ask for support for the Mayor’s family and his family in city hall."
Police responding to a 911 call discovered Carpenter in a parked vehicle at an elementary school where he'd gone to drop his grandson off, Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruz said.
He was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The cause of death was not immediately known but Cruz said foul play is not believed to be involved. An autopsy will be conducted by the state medical examiner's office.
Carpenter had undergone a procedure for a cardiac artery blockage, the Enterprise of Brockton reported in March. He returned to work and planned to seek a fourth term in November.
"His indefatigable and infectious approach to governing had created unprecedented momentum and urban renewal in the city's downtown," the city said in a statement Wednesday.
He had six children, one of whom serves as a police officer for the city.
Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced at a later date.
Flags at city hall were at half staff, while people who worked for him cried and embraced each other remembering his accomplishments, including a police-assisted opioid recovery program that let people dealing with addiction ask for help.
And politicians from across the state shared their condolences, including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
"Our hearts go out to the family of Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter, a deeply committed public servant who was dedicated to improving the lives of his neighbors. We join them and the entire community in mourning his passing," Baker said on Twitter.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito called Carpenter "a great public servant" and a "relentless force" behind the progress being made in Brockton. "It was an honor to work with him to help move a community he loved so much forward," she said.
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"Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said. "Our hearts are with his children and loved ones today and in the days ahead."
"I am saddened to learn of the passing of Brockton's Mayor Bill Carpenter," added Francisco Urena, Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Services. "It was an honor to work with him in the prominent strides made for greater opportunities in housing and quality of life for Brockton's Veterans & their families. My condolences to his family & friends."
"Very sad to hear of the passing of Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter, a great leader who leaves behind a family, city & fellow mayors who love him," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. "He was a strong partner & ally to Boston on many issues. Keeping his family, friends, colleagues in our hearts."
"Mayor Bill Carpenter was a true champion or the City of Brockton, & a devoted public servant," said Sen. Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat. "Bruce & I send our prayers to Bill's family & the people of Brockton. We'll be with you every step of the way."
A city of nearly 100,000 residents, Brockton is nicknamed the "City of Champions" for being the hometown of former world boxing champs Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler.