Mayor Mickey Cafagna, 65, died Saturday morning after a long battle with cancer.
"The City of Poway has lost a true leader and friend," said City Manager Rod Gould. "We will deeply miss his kind spirit, intelligence, sense of optimism and ability to win people's commitment to doing what is needed."
Flags in the City of Poway will fly at half-staff all week in his honor.
Cafagna had been hospitalized since early March. Earlier this year, he disclosed that surgery five years ago to remove a cancerous kidney was not completely successful and had spread to his lungs.
Cafagna served on the Poway City Council since 1992. He became Poway's third elected mayor in 1998. He won re-election in 2002 and 2006. His current term expires in 2010.
“Some people say that everybody is replaceable, but really, Mickey's not replaceable. He'll leave a huge void in the city,” Deputy Mayor Don Higginson said. “He was an expert at consensus building. You could have people with divergent views and they would sit down with Mickey and go away knowing that they were listened to and they were satisfied.”
Higginson has been serving as acting mayor. The council will decide whether to fill the balance of the mayor's term through a special election or appointment.
Cafagna is survived by his wife Sharon. They have two children and five grandchildren.