The outgoing mayor of a Northern California city who stepped down died Saturday in a plane crash, according to officials.
Dr. William “Bill” Kirby, who was the mayor of Auburn, died near the Auburn Municipal Airport, officials told the Sacramento Bee newspaper.
Kirby, a urologist, was also the pilot of the plane when it crashed shortly after 11 a.m., said authorities. A passenger in the plane suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in the report.
Sacramento political consultant Jeff Raimundo issued a statement on behalf of Kirby’s family.
“Our family is devastated by this tragic news,” the statement by the family said, according to another local news outlet, Gold County Media. “Bill devoted decades of enthusiastic and loving support to his family, his patients and the Auburn community he loved so much. We will miss him immensely but take comfort in knowing he died while flying—one of the other loves of his life.”
Before the crash, Kirby drew headlines after he criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, comparing Trump supporters to members of the Ku Klux Klan, or KKK. After his posts, a number of people demanded that he step down from office. He said that the social media posts had “nothing to do with my job. I reposted it,” reported The Associated Press.
Last week, he announced that he was stepping aside from his post as mayor of Auburn. On April 13, Kirby said he would nominate Councilman Daniel Berlant to serve as mayor for the term, local media reported.
He is survived by two children and several grandchildren.
“He loved his family, especially his two granddaughters,” his family’s statement read. “He poured his passion into life and the world is a better place because of him.”
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.