Keith Richman, a former California Assemblyman who would have been mayor of the San Fernando Valley if the 2002 secession drive had prevailed, has died after fighting brain cancer for more than a year.
Richman died Friday night at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 56.
"Keith Richman was a great leader and passionate public servant," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. "He advocated for so many important causes in California, including health care and pension reform, and his work for our state made a lasting impact that will be remembered."
Colleagues remembered the longtime Northridge resident's political courage in being one of the few prominent elected officials who supported San Fernando Valley cityhood before the movement became popular.
"There are few people that have done so much for the San Fernando Valley," said Richard Close, who was chairman of the secession effort.
"Keith was a warrior, and we needed warriors," said attorney David Fleming, a major backer of secession.
Dr. Richman's funeral service is scheduled for this Wednesday, August 4, from 2-4 pm at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.