AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — South Carolina Representative Ronnie Young has died following a fight with cancer. He was 71.

He passed away just after 4 a.m., according to Aiken County Council Vice-Chair Andrew Siders.

Young served as Chairman of the Aiken County Council for more than two decades. He then won a special election for the District 84 seat following Chris Corley’s resignation following domestic violence charges.

He recently received South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, The Order of the Palmetto. It recognizes a person’s extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide significance.  

“In his lifetime, he worked on behalf of the community serving as the Chairman of the Aiken County Council. As a state representative, he was highly respected by colleagues, and his advice was frequently wanted and valued on issues. He sought out solutions to major issues, and he even made state history by bringing the largest economic development projects to Aiken County,” family said in a post on social media.

The family ask for thoughts and prayers.

Many Aikenites are expressing their thoughts following Young’s passing.

“My condolences on the passing of State Representative and former Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young go out to his wife Susan and their family,” Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker said on social media. “I greatly appreciated Ronnie’s instruction and support as a new Councilman when I was first elected in 2004. After my election but before I was sworn in, he invited me to executive session meetings to learn the ropes. He was patient and generous with his time,” he added.

“It’s a very sad day for Aiken County and South Carolina,” Aiken County Council Vice-Chair Andrew Siders said on social media. “He is now in his heavenly home but his legacy and memory will always be with us,” he added.

South Governor Henry McMaster has ordered Statehouse flags to be lowered half-staff on the day of his funeral.

Young’s death creates a vacancy in S.C. House District 84. Dates for a special election will be announced by the S.C. Election Commission.