SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Georgia Representative and Savannah native Mickey Stephens, passed away Saturday. Stephens was 77.

Stephens represented the Hostess City in the General Assembly first from 2002 to 2003, and then again when he was re-elected in 2014.

He had been sick for some time and took a leave from his official duties in late March, before returning to the Capitol in mid-April.

In a statement released last night, Georgia House of Representatives Speaker, David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) said, “the passing of Mickey Stephens takes from us one of Georgia’s most solid leaders. A man of quiet strength, Mickey was a pillar in the Georgia house and he was my dear friend.”

“Mickey’s utmost priority was the well-being of his constituents and no one fought harder for their community,” Ralson said. “Our prayers are with Gloria and his family during this time.”

Several politicians and local leaders expressed sadness upon hearing of Stephens’ passing. Savannah-Chatham County Public School System Superintendent, Dr. Ann Levett also expressed grief about Stephens’ passing.

“My heart aches about our loss of State Representative Mickey Stephens… Thanks for your service to our community. Rest In Peace,” Levette wrote on Twitter.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson thanked Stephens for the impact he had on Savannah in a post on Twitter.

“We will forever be grateful for what he contributed to the well-being & prosperity of our City & State,” Johnson wrote in the tweet.

Gov. Brian Kemp also said he was saddened by Stephens’ passing and sent condolences to his family, friends and Savannahians.

“Mickey was a dedicated public servant and a strong advocate for the Savannah community,” Kemp wrote on Twitter.

Former Mayor of Savannah Edna Jackson spent a majority of her life around Stephens. From their days in grade school to attending college together at Savannah State, she reminisced on their time together as kids getting into trouble together at Beach High School.

“As I look back on the years I’ll never forget, when we were in school we blew up the Chemistry Lab at Beach High School. Me, him and a whole group trying to make moonshine,” Jackson laughingly explained. “It’s such a tremendous loss, it’s hard to put it in words, but he will forever be remembered as that person that thought about the people and not about himself.”