Former DC Councilmember Jim Graham dies

- Former DC Councilmember Jim Graham has died. He was 71 years old.

The Democrat served four terms as councilmember of Ward 1 beginning in 1998.

An openly gay councilmember, Graham was an advocate for those with HIV and AIDS. He served as the first executive director of Whitman-Walker Health, which provides healthcare for the LGBTQ community.

"Jim was the moving force behind Whitman-Walker," former DC Mayor Vince Gray told FOX 5's Matt Ackland.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she was saddened to learn of Graham's passing and said her thoughts and prayers were with his family and friends. In a statement, Bowser said in part:

“Jim Graham embodied DC values. Jim was a fierce champion for Ward 1 and led the way in fighting to preserve and protect affordable housing in booming neighborhoods. He was also a tireless advocate for LBGTQ rights and access to health care. Jim welcomed all neighbors and showed us that DC’s diversity alone does not make us great, but instead our embrace and celebration of our diversity does."

Current Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who defeated Graham in the 2014 election, offered her condolences Thursday afternoon.

In a statement, Nadeau said:

“I offer my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Councilmember Graham. It was no secret that we did not always see eye to eye, but there was no question as to his deep love for the people of Ward 1. As a Councilmember he leaves a legacy of fierce advocacy on behalf of District residents. As the director of the Whitman Walker Clinic his tireless work fighting for LGBTQ rights and to end HIV/AIDS was pioneering and touched lives across the District and around the country. In his many years of service, he was dedicated to leaving the world a better place than he found it. He will be missed.”

Graham's cause of death was not immediately clear.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 5 for updates.

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