Councilman Thomas White Jr. has died after a long battle with cancer.
A council spokesman said White died Friday. He had been excused from business since April, when he last attended a meeting.
The Queens councilman was elected in 1991 and served 10 years. He was elected to his old seat in 2005 and was re-elected last year.
White was chairman of the council's economic development committee. Council Speaker Christine Quinn praised White's dedication to helping the poor and victims of violence. She noted that he was also executive director of a substance abuse program that helped countless New Yorkers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said White's legacy will live on through the work he did for others.
"Born and raised in Queens, Tom spent over 30 years trying to improve his Southeast Queens community, and not just through his work with the City Council," Bloomberg said. "He was the executive director of J-CAP, which serves Queens with a recognized alcohol and substance abuse treatment program. He served as Chair of the Council’s economic development committee, and because of his efforts, we were able to create programs that range from providing loans to help small businesses stay afloat and grow to helping New Yorkers avoid foreclosures."