(WXYZ) — Long-time Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson passed away early Saturday morning at his home in Independence Township.
The 80-year-old died around 5:30 a.m. surrounded by family and friends after his battle with pancreatic cancer, according to a release from Oakland County.
Patterson began his public service to Oakland County more than 40 years ago. He served as Oakland County Prosecutor for 16 years and was elected as executive in 1992, where he served until his death.
Mary Warner, Patterson's daughter, released the this statement on behalf of the family:
"Our dad was a courageous fighter all his life and he fought right up until the end," Warner said. "Our family is grieving over the unimaginable loss of our father, grandfather, hero, and friend. Many will remember him for his impact on Michigan and generosity toward Oakland County. We'll remember him for his love and generosity toward his family and friends."
Friends and colleagues across metro Detroit remembered Patterson's impact and extended condolences to the family:
Debbie Dingell, Michigan Congresswoman
“Brooks Patterson was always my friend. We could disagree, but he did it with such humor it was always respectful. He loved Michigan, he loved Oakland county, his family and friends. I hope he and John are sitting together and enjoying the fruits of their lives work. This has been a long hard year of losses of giants for this state.”
Philip A. Incarnati, McLaren Health Care president and CEO
“I was fortunate to be one of the many who counted Brooks Patterson as both a personal friend and a trusted business ally.
While his physical presence has been lost, his great legacy of stewardship to the communities he served has left an indelible mark that will stand the test of time.”
Alisha Bell, Wayne County Commission Chairwoman
His financial acumen was impressive and his laser-focused economic development efforts were unmatched. But at times his negative and divisive rhetoric on regional matters hurt the region and held us back. Brooks was a giant who will be missed. My prayers go out to his family and friends.
Laura Cox, Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman
“L. Brooks Patterson devoted his life to public service and the fruits of his leadership touched countless lives. In an era when elected officials far too often take the easy way out, Brooks stood firm to his principles and never shied away from a fight. His courage of conviction, wisdom, and sense of humor made even political foes friends, and helped Oakland County to become one of our nation’s best places to live. L. Brooks Patterson will be greatly missed by Republicans across our state and his family and friends have my prayers.”
Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Oakland County Sheriff
“Today, is the end of an era in Oakland County. Brooks Patterson was a steadfast leader, who safeguarded Oakland County’s fiscal stability in good times and in bad. His policies and focus in leading this county into the 21st century will never be forgotten. With Brooks, we did not have to wonder what was on his mind – his quick wit and sometimes sharp tongue never left any doubt where he stood. Whether you agreed with him on an issue or not, you always knew his unwavering concern had the best interests of Oakland County – first and always. He devoted his whole adult life to Oakland County. I knew him as Oakland County Prosecutor while I was a patrol officer and as the executive while I have been the Sheriff. In both roles, I was appreciative of his dedication to public safety and investing in law enforcement advancements for our communities. His ability to make wise financial and policy decisions for the residents of Oakland County will have a lasting impact on all of us for years to come. He will be greatly missed. His family and loved ones are in my prayers.”
Candice Miller, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner
"Nobody ever fought harder for what he believed in than my dear friend L. Brooks Patterson. At his core, he believed that government was about serving the people of the community and he spent a lifetime in public service living up to that ideal. For decades, he set the gold standard for government leadership. Rest in Peace, Brooks, we are going to miss you."
Oakland County Board of Commissioners
“The Board of Commissioners has lost a tremendous partner with the passing of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson,” said Board Chairman David T. Woodward. “His long and dedicated career in public service has resulted in an incredibly impactful legacy in Oakland County and our region. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family, friends and dedicated staff during this difficult time.”
“Brooks was a great visionary, leader and friend,” said Republican Caucus Chairperson Michael J. Gingell. “He consistently fought for the people of Oakland County and worked every day to make Oakland County a better place for each of us. While his legacy will remain, he will be sorely missed.”
Others took to social media.
Michigan Senator Majority Leader Mike Shirkey tweeted his reaction:
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts posted this message to Facebook:
In 2017, Patterson sat down with Action News Editorial & Public Affairs Director Chuck Stokes to take a look inside Oakland County. Watch below: