ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Longtime Albuquerque City Councilor Ken Sanchez has died following a medical episode. His family, along with the mayor and other city council members, made the announcement Wednesday evening.

Ken Sanchez served more than two decades of public service in the Albuquerque area. Now, family members and colleagues are remembering the legacy he left behind.

“I know it feels like we lost a huge part of our family, but to everyone else, he was just like family too. So thank you for enjoying his life and celebrating it,” Sanchez’s granddaughter, Natalie, said.

The mayor did not specify how Sanchez passed away, but back in November, the city announced he had experienced a medical emergency, although he was expected to make a full recovery.

During Wednesday’s news conference, his co-councilors held back tears, praising him as a person and as a public servant.

“Ken was always a person of integrity, he always put principle above politics,” City Councilor Don Harris said.

“It’s with heavy hearts we must bid farewell to a man who was a friend, a colleague, a mentor and supporter of so many. He will not be forgotten,” City Councilor Klarissa Pena said.

The father and grandfather was a Bernalillo County Commissioner for eight years before becoming a city councilor for 14 years, representing parts of Albuquerque’s Westside.

Some of his biggest accomplishments were building the Grand Patrick J. Baca Library on the Westside, as well as the Los Volcanes Senior Center Wall of Honored Veterans.

Sanchez was also widely respected as a realtor and accountant, performing taxes for thousands of New Mexicans.

The city is working with the councilor’s family on further details to honor his life and legacy.

According to the Albuquerque City Charter, the mayor must now appoint a replacement for the councilman. The person appointed to his position will serve until the next regular election.