Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan dies at 69 after battle with cancer

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan makes the dedication for artist Yulia Avgustinovich’s street mural at Westerly Creek Village. Hogan died Sunday at 69 after a battle with cancer.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, who helped lead his city through rapid expansion and tragedy as a decades-long political fixture in the metro area and throughout Colorado, died Sunday morning. He was 69.

Hogan announced in March that he was diagnosed with cancer and on Wednesday said he was entering home hospice care.

“Mayor Hogan honorably served as mayor of Aurora from 2011 until his passing,” the city of Aurora said in a news release. “… He was the heart of Aurora.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff on all public buildings Monday, from sunrise to sunset, to honor Hogan.

“Today Colorado lost a true friend in Mayor Steve Hogan,” Hickenlooper said in a statement Sunday. “This was a man who went above and beyond to do right by the city he loved. He was that rare public servant who put people before party – my God, how we will miss him.”

Steve Hogan

Before becoming mayor, Hogan served for 24 years — over six terms — on the Aurora City Council after first being elected in 1979. His tenure was marked by helping Aurora adapt amid metro Denver’s growth, being an advocate for the city’s economy and public transportation options.

Aurora grew from a city of about 160,000 people to its current population of more than 360,000 during the time Hogan served as one of its elected leaders.

One of his greatest accomplishments was being a part of the development of E-470 in the late 1980s, eventually becoming executive director of the highway authority overseeing the tollway’s operations. He was also a national voice for the city in the aftermath of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting that left 12 dead and 70 others injured.

Hogan met with survivors and victims’ families, working to help his community heal.

“If there is a silver lining it’s that we didn’t lose more lives,” he said at a news conference just after the massacre, helping put Aurora’s best foot forward. “It’s because our first responders not only did their job. They went above and beyond.”

Among his efforts on the city’s behalf, Hogan put Aurora on the map alongside its big-brother neighbor Denver — helping his hometown become more than just a suburb.

But Hogan’s impact was felt far beyond the confines of Aurora, as he proved to be a role model for other political leaders in the region and state.

“He has been a constant, consistent advocate that you’ve gotta invest in infrastructure if you’re gonna grow economically,” Hickenlooper told reporters Thursday when talking about Hogan’s legacy.

He called Hogan “one the real, kind of, catalysts within that group of mayors” in the Denver area over the past decade.

Steve Hogan was my other half after the theater shooting in 2013, a rock of Gibraltar. So sad file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/b7/07/F8B74DB9-E987-4D74-A3E6-83EEBAE23B02/IMG_0895.JPG pic.twitter.com/DVlmxtUdHQ

— John Hickenlooper (@hickforco) May 13, 2018

On Sunday, Hickenlooper tweeted that Hogan “was my other half after the theater shooting in (2012), a rock of Gibraltar.”

“He was a good friend and a strong leader in the region,” said Denver City Council President Albus Brooks, in a tweet Sunday. “He will be missed.”

Love to Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan’s family. He passed this morning. He was a good friend and strong leader in the region. He will be missed. Selah. @AuroraGov

Among Hogan’s dreams for Aurora, he wanted to split the city off into its own county — it sits between Arapahoe and Adams counties — like Denver or Broomfield. It’s an idea that’s been around for decades, but which he said wouldn’t happen during his tenure.

“It has been my distinct honor to serve first as a state representative, then a councilman and finally as mayor of Aurora,” Hogan wrote Wednesday in announcing that he was entering hospice care. “Aurora is my heart. She has gracefully transitioned from a gateway suburb on the Plains to the 54th-largest city in the country. A heartfelt thanks to my former and current colleagues and to all the city employees — what an honor it has been to serve with each of you.”

“Aurora, a new dawn awaits. Thank you for allowing me to live my best life,” he added.

Hogan’s family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his honor to the Mayor Stephen D. Hogan Memorial Fund. A link to the fund will be posted on the city’s website — AuroraGov.org — this week.

A memorial service has yet to be set.

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