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Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry dies after medical emergency amid cancer battle

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry died Thursday, a day after after experiencing a medical emergency related to his stomach cancer. He was 72.

The announcement from his office that the Democratic mayor had “passed away peacefully” came just hours after Henry’s family issued a statement saying he had entered hospice care after suffering a medical emergency.

“Mayor Henry was a man of the highest character – a true servant leader who devoted his entire adult life to the betterment of Fort Wayne and its residents. He was also the best dad a son or daughter could ask for,” the announcement from his spokesperson John Perlich said.

The earlier announcement from Henry’s family said he was privately transported to a hospital where the mayor and his family consulted at length with his medical team, including his oncologist.

“After careful consideration of the risks associated with surgical intervention, Mayor Henry has opted for comfort measures at this time. He is resting comfortably under the care of extremely skilled hospice nurses,” the statement said.

Henry announced his diagnosis of late-stage stomach cancer on Feb. 26 during a news conference. He began chemotherapy at the beginning of March.

“My initial scans have shown that the cancer is currently spreading through my lymph nodes and other organs,” Henry said at the time. “Therefore, my prognosis is not exactly encouraging.”

Henry was elected in November to his fifth term as mayor of Indiana’s second most populous city with about 270,000 residents. Henry’s wife, Cindy, died at age 67 on Jan. 20 after battling pancreatic cancer for more than a year.

Henry pleaded guilty in November 2022 to operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, had his license suspended for 90 days and received a suspended one-year jail sentence. He was arrested the month before with a blood-alcohol nearly twice Indiana’s legal limit.

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