Long-time Democratic Montana mayor dies in office

A local news outlet has reported that the Democratic mayor of  Montana’s second biggest city passed away this week at the age of 57.

Death follows the battle with pancreatic cancer

According to 8KPAX, Mayor John Engen’s passing was announced on Monday by Missoula City Council President Gwen Jones, who said the official had died of pancreatic cancer.

“It’s just a hard day for the City of Missoula and we’re just going to figure it out and go forward with as much grace as John led this city with,” was quoted as saying Jones during a conference.

Under rules of succession laid out on the city’s official website, Jones will serve as acting mayor until a permanent successor is appointed.

8KPAX noted that Engen was Missoula’s longest-serving mayor and was on his fifth term, having first been elected in 2005.

Former Democratic governor says the mayor “dedicated his life to serving the town”

The outlet reported that words of praise poured in from other elected officials, including Montana’s former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.

“John was one of the kindest, funniest and most thoughtful people I have ever worked with,” Bullock declared in a statement.

The former governor recalled how Engen “dedicated his life to serving the town where he was born and raised, and he went to work every day with a vision of how a great place could be even better.”

“He was bold in leadership, thoughtful in approach, fiercely loyal and steadfast in his determination to make life better for every member of his community. Missoula and all of Montana lost a legend today,” Bullock concluded.

Wilmot Collins serves as mayor of Montana’s capital city, putting out a statement on Twitter lamenting Engen’s death.

Meanwhile, United Way of Missoula County CEO Susan Hay Patrick addressed Engen’s death in a statement posted to Facebook, saying the mayor “understood that our community is stronger when we all do our part to help others.”

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