DETROIT - Former Michigan state representative and state senator Burton Leland died Sunday morning, officials said.
Leland, 69, battled terminal cancer.
He began his political career as a state representative in 1981, before moving to the state's upper chamber from 1998 until 2006. Leland also served as Wayne County commissioner.
When Leland retired earlier this year, Reggie Davis took his seat.
“His legacy will carry on," Davis said. "Whether it was reaching into his own pocket to help a constituent who was having a hard time or the $40,000-plus in scholarships he awarded over the years, the word that I think best reflects Burton is 'legacy.' I may be filling his County Commission seat, but I will never be able to fill the shoes of Burton Leland. He was a leader amongst leaders and a friend to all he met. He’ll be greatly missed. My love and prayers go out to his family at this sad time.”
“It’s sad to hear of the passing of Burton Leland," Wayne County executive Warren C. Evans said. "He passionately served the public for many years and always stood up for what he believed in. Our thoughts and prayers are with Commissioner Leland’s family and loved ones.”
Leland's son, Gabriel, is a Detroit city councilman.
Funeral services for Leland will be held Tuesday at the Ira Kaufman Chapel in Southfield at 2 p.m.
Contributions may be made to the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue at1457 Griswold in Detroit or to Congregation Kehillat Israel at 2014 Forest Road in Lansing.
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