The Auburn, Calif., mayor who announced plans to resign Tuesday after comparing supporters of President Trump to the Ku Klux Klan died in a plane crash Saturday.
Dr. William Kirby, 72, was piloting a plane Saturday morning when it crashed near the Auburn Municipal Airport, according to the Sacramento Bee.
A passenger on board suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“Our family is devastated by this tragic news,” Kirby’s relatives said in a statement, posted on Facebook by a political consultant. “Bill devoted decades of enthusiastic and loving support to his family, his patients and the Auburn community he loved so much. We will miss him immensely but take comfort in knowing he died while flying – one of the other loves of his life.”
Kirby made headlines last week after he shared a photo of a hooded KKK member with the text “Good news for Trump supporters is that most of them already have masks.”
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Kirby announced that he would be stepping down and intended to recommend city councilmember Daniel Berlant take over at the next meeting on April 27.
“Like millions of healthcare workers and first responders across the country, like I did today, I go to work every day and put my life on the line against an enemy I can’t see without the proper protective gear or testing capabilities because of the criminal incompetence and disregard for science from this administration,” Kirby, a physician, said at the meeting, according to ABC 10.
“This president has put us all at risk. I believe history will judge those who speak up against his damning ideologies and those who did not.”
Kirby is survived by son James Kirby, his daughter Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, son-in-law Adam Gonzalez and grandchildren Addison and Chloe Gonzalez.
“He loved his family, especially his two granddaughters,” the family said in a statement. “He poured his passion into life and the world is a better place because of him.”