Former Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry has died, reports Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins.
A beloved fixture in the community, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer last summer. He died Wednesday morning at home, Wilkins reported.
In a recent conversation with News4's Jim Vance, he said the news of his diagnosis hadn't frightened him.
"I prayed, consulted with God, I managed myself because I had to present my kids with the appropriate imagery with the challenge that beset me. The really compelling thing is that I wasn't scared," he said.
Born in Brooklyn, Curry spent the vast majority of his life in Prince George's County, an area that was still largely segregated when Curry was young. He and his brother became two of the first African Americans to attend Cheverly-Tuxedo Elementary School.
In 1994, Curry broke ground again, becoming Prince George's first African-American county executive. He was considered a mentor to a generation of young politicians in the county.
During his eight years in office, Curry brought unprecedented change to Prince George's, including a 150 percent increase in home sales, a significant expansion of business development, and a 68 percent drop in police misconduct -- though he remained modest about it.
"I was much more interested in making sense than making history," Curry said.
Gov. Martin O'Malley said Wednesday morning, "I witnessed his tireless advocacy on behalf of the people he served and his fearless efforts."
Curry was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2013.
Last month, he told Vance he felt "pretty good," but wanted to publicize the disparities of cancer treatment in the United States, where African Americans are beset by lung cancer more than any other people.
He also vowed to educate other African-Americans about the dangers of smoking and the real threat of cancer.
He had another message, too.
"I just want to remind people that there's another doctor on duty. And that one's not controlled by any of this," Curry said.