Providence councilman Luna dies

A member of the Providence City Council died Thursday after being hospitalized for more than a week following a massive heart attack.

Miguel C. Luna had been in Rhode Island Hospital since the attack.

The 53-year-old councilman called 911 early in the morning on Aug. 9 because he was having trouble breathing. He suffered the heart attack in the ambulance en route to the hospital.

“I am deeply saddened by the untimely passing of my friend and colleague Miguel Luna,” Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said in a statement. “Councilman Luna was a great man who made a difference in many people’s lives. I join with everyone in my administration and the city of Providence in mourning his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time. We will honor councilman Luna’s memory by following his example and continuing his lifelong commitment to advocating for justice.”

Luna represented the people of Providence’s 9th ward for nearly a decade.

“Throughout his life, Miguel displayed an unyielding commitment to community service. He was involved with many organizations dedicated to improving the lives of the less fortunate. Councilman Luna’s accomplishments – legislative, professional and otherwise – are truly without end, and it was his devotion to such causes that we will most recall and miss,” said Council President Michael Solomon.

Luna began his first term in January 2003 by beating an incumbent with nearly two-thirds of the vote. He was the second Latino councilman in Providence’s history and the first Dominican American ever elected to the Council.

Luna won re-election in 2006 and 2010.

“He believed in affordable housing; making sure community centers were open, athletic facilities were available for children to go and learn things. He was a fighter, he fought for things that the thought would actually be beneficial to people in the community or for residents of the city and to have a loss like that is painful,” said councilman Terry Hassett

Hassett, who recovered from a near-death experience last fall after being struck on Federal Hill by a hit-and-run driver, remembered his colleague’s down-to-earth personality and deep love of family.

“It’s been a difficult year for the Providence City Council, no question. But we will recover and we’ll learn from those people like Miguel Luna who have left us. We’ll learn from what he stood for and we’ll apply what he has done and continue to do that for good leadership of the city,” Hassett said.

“He was like a brother to me,” said Councilman Luis Aponte. “Miguel’s been on the front-lines of every important struggle in our great city and I am saddened beyond belief by his passing. He was a hero in the true sense of the word – unafraid of taking on the powerful and relentless in his commitment to winning justice and fairness for all.”

Originally from the Dominican Republic, he moved to Rhode Island in 1984.

Luna worked in factories and as a laborer during the construction of the Comfort Inn near T.F. Green Airport. He also worked at the International Institute, at the Amos House and at AIDS Care Ocean State.

The councilman is survived by his three children, Dante, 13, Sofie, 11, and Omar 9; his mother Mireya, his four sisters, Ysa, Belkiss, Josefina and Teresa; his brother Antonio and 17 nieces and nephews.

Taveras has ordered flags on city buildings to fly at half staff in memory of the councilman.

Donations in Luna’s memory can be sent to:

Luna Children Educational Trust
167 Roger Williams Ave.
Providence, RI 02907

Article source: http://www2.turnto10.com/news/2011/aug/18/9/providence-councilman-critical-after-heart-attack-ar-691196/

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