Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan dies at 69 after battle with cancer

AURORA, Colo. -- Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan died Sunday morning after a battle with cancer, the city announced. He was 69.

In March, the mayor announced he had been diagnosed with cancer and would not seek re-election in 2019. He entered hospice care on Wednesday.

Hogan has spent 34 years in elected office and said he is proud that he gave his best effort during each day of work.

Hogan was elected mayor in 2011. Shortly after, 12 people were killed in a the Aurora theater shooting in July 2012.

“He was the most wonderful, generous, selfless man,” said Heather Bailey, 7/20 Memorial Foundation board member.

Overcome with emotion, Bailey, talks about the compassion and leadership Hogan showed in the aftermath of the city’s worst tragedy.

“How he reached out to the families was amazing,” Bailey said.

Her daughter, Kaylin, was inside the theater. She was hit with shrapnel, but survived.

“I know he tried to go to as many funerals as possible -- if not all of them,” Bailey said.

Three years later, Hogan’s kindness stretched more than 1,000 miles away when he made a certain phone call.

“It was totally unexpected,” former mayor of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Steve Scaffidi said.

Scaffidi, a newly appointed mayor, was faced with uncertainty in how to handle the horrific Sikh Temple mass shooting.

“He told me three things and I’ve actually used these many times since. Be calm, reassure the community, and talk about what you know. Don’t speculate. That advice, at that time, less than 12 hours after the shooting was exactly what I needed to hear,” Scaffidi said.

It was advice Scaffidi now pays forward to other city leaders facing hardship across the country.

“He’s a tremendous human being someone I have a lot of respect for,” Scaffidi said.

Hogan was also a catalyst in making the memorial garden for the theater shooting victims become reality.

Although he won’t physically be there for the dedication this summer, board members say his legacy will nurture future leaders for years to come.

“He’s going to be there but in a different way, looking down on us. He will remembered and we’re going to make sure to remember him,” Bailey said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Hogan said: "It has been my distinct honor to serve first as a state representative, then a councilman and finally as mayor of Aurora.

"Aurora is my heart. She has gracefully transitioned from a gateway suburb on the plains to the 54th largest city in the country."

"The people of Aurora define this city. We have grown, we have grieved, we have overcome and we shall continue to prosper together."

Hogan thanked his colleagues and said it was an honor to serve with city employees.

"Aurora, a new dawn awaits. Thank you for allowing me to live my best life," Hogan said.

In a statement, the city of Aurora said it will be accepting donations to a memorial fund later this week.

The Hogan family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Mayor Stephen D. Hogan Memorial Fund via a link that will be on the city’s website at AuroraGov.org early this week.

Donations will be distributed to the causes important to Hogan

University of Denver Stephen D. Hogan Scholarship Fund
7/20 Memorial Fund
Aurora Korean Memorial Fund
Aurora History Museum

Details for Hogan’s funeral service will be announced in the coming days.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has ordered flags lowered to half-staff on all public buildings Monday.

“Today Colorado lost a true friend in Mayor Steve Hogan,” Hickenlooper said. “This was a man who went above and beyond to do right by the city he loved.

"He led the way to make Aurora the bustling, dynamic city it is today, and Colorado is better for it. He was that rare public servant who put people before party -- my God, how we will miss him.”

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