Jack Walker, a Jackson County commissioner for 16 years, died at about midnight at his home in Phoenix. He was 73.
Walker had battled numerous health problems in recent years, receiving a liver transplant in 2008 and a heart bypass operation in 2011, said his niece Chris Walker, Jackson County's clerk.
"He had been in a lot of pain for a long time, but most people wouldn't have known it because he was very strong and very resilient," Chris Walker said this morning.
"But he was just tired, and ultimately everything just stopped working."
A Republican, Walker's political career ended in 2010 when he was unseated in the primary by Commissioner Don Skundrick.
Walker died in the company of his wife of 44 years, Andrea, and his son Mike, one of five boys the couple raised, Chris Walker said.
Walker had gone to the emergency room at Providence Medford Medical Center earlier, but he asked to be sent home, with the family realizing the situation was dire, Chris Walker said.
"He decided he'd rather be at home. His wishes were well known," Chris Walker said. "Comfort care was given, and he was able to die at home with his son Mike and wife Andrea by his side."
Walker, the middle child in a family of three boys and two girls, died a week shy of his 74th birthday, his niece said.
"He was a loving, caring, compassionate man," she said. "Whether you agreed with his positions, he always spoke from his heart, and you had to respect him for that."
— David Smigelski