WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Former Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon Sr. passed away early Thursday morning, according to a statement from his family.
Solomon died peacefully at home surrounded by his family, the statement said. He was 64.
The cause of Solomon’s death was not released.
Solomon spent two decades in public service as a municipal judge, city councilor and council president before becoming acting mayor early in 2018 after Scott Avedisian stepped down to become CEO of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority.
He was elected mayor in November 2018, but lost his re-election bid last fall to current Mayor Frank Picozzi.
Picozzi ordered all city flags to fly at half staff for two weeks, adding that he’s saddened by the news.
“Although our political views differed, I have a great respect for anyone who steps up to the plate, puts their name on the ballot and then serves,” Picozzi said. “Joe was a nine-term councilman and the 15th mayor of Warwick and this city will honor him.”
Prior to a scheduled ceremony to sign a bill that will the state’s minimum wage increase, Gov. Dan McKee told reporters he was devastated to learn of Solomon’s passing.
He also acknowledged the absence of Solomon’s son, Rep. Joseph Solomon Jr., absence from the signing ceremony.
“We know that Rep. Solomon actually was very involved in this bill. He would have been here,” McKee said. “The mayor was a good person that served the state, and his family as well, so we wanted to recognize that.”
R.I. House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi also offered his condolences to the former mayor’s family.
“It’s a tragedy, and so young. It’s a loss to the city, a loss to the state,” Shekarchi said.
In addition to his son, Solomon leaves behind his wife Cynthia, his mother Rose and five sisters.
Funeral and memorial services are incomplete at this time.