State Treasurer Ben Westlund lost his battle with lung cancer today. According to a statement issued by the Oregon Treasurer's office, Westlund died this morning in Bend. Prior to being elected Treasurer in 2008, Westlund served in the Oregon legislature for 12 years--first as a Republican, then as an independent, and finally as a Democrat.
Westlund first battled cancer in 2003, then announced last fall that his cancer had returned. There has been no announcement yet on memorial services for Westlund, who is survived by his wife and two children, age 21 and 17. In a statement, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski said “Oregon has lost a leader, a friend and a member of our collective Oregon family, but (Westlund's) spirit and enthusiasm will continue to inspire the best in all of us.”