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State Senator loses bout with cancer

Updated:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Veteran state Sen. Keith Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, died Friday after a long battle with cancer.

Leftwich, 49, was chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

He was known as a tireless worker in the Legislature who kept up his Senate duties despite his health problems.

``I don't think anyone in Oklahoma was more dedicated, enthusiastic or hardworking than Keith Leftwich,'' said Gov. Brad Henry. ``He was the model state lawmaker, the kind who lived and breathed public service 24 hours a day.''

Senate President Pro Tem Cal Hobson, D-Lexington, said Leftwich left a legacy of courage and public service.

``Keith Leftwich was the bravest man I have ever known,'' Hobson said. ``He maintained his grace and dignity throughout his courageous battle. Everyone in the Senate is grieved by his passing and his family will be in our prayers.''

Leftwich informed his colleagues in 2002 that was undergoing treatment after a cancerous lump was found on his neck.

In an emotional speech in February, he said tests had discovered cancer on a rib in his back. He thanked his fellow senators for their help and said he was looking forward to serving out his four-year term. He had been re-elected in the previous November.

He was elected first as a House member and then as a senator.

His legislative interests included transportation and economic development and he served several years as the chairman of the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

He was born at Tinker Air Force Base in 1954.
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