April 19 (UPI) — Bill Kirby, mayor of Auburn in Northhern California, died in a plane crash, his family said in a statement.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office announced that there was one confirmed fatality in a small plane crash near Auburn Municipal Airport on Saturday morning and that one person had survived. Auburn, which has a population of around 14,000, is 33 miles north of Sacramento.
The sheriff’s office said it was still awaiting forensic confirmation but Kirby’s family issued a statement saying he had been tentatively identified as the person killed in the crash.
“Our family is devastated by this tragic news. Bill devoted decades of enthusiastic and loving support to his family, his patients and the Auburn community he loved so much,” his family wrote. “We will miss him immensely but take comfort in knowing he died while flying — one of the other loves of his life.”
Auburn Vice Mayor Matthew Spokely also offered condolences to Kirby in a post on the city’s Facebook page.
“We are all very shocked and saddened by the news of the tragic plane crash this morning at the Auburn Airport,” he wrote. “Throughout his term on council, Bill contributed to our community in so many ways — From the Arts Commission and the Let’s Never Forget Series to his support of the Auburn Airport and Placer Athletics.”
In addition to serving as mayor, Kirby, 72, was a practicing urologist who served on various medical boards and a licensed pilot since 2009.
Kirby announced on Monday that he would step aside from his post as mayor after reposting an image likening President Donald Trump’s supporters to members of the Ku Klux Klan on his personal Facebook page.
He was expected to be succeeded by Councilman Daniel Berlant this week.