Chicago Alderman JoAnn Thompson Dies

Fifty-eight-year old alderman died of "sudden heart failure," Chief of Staff Debbie Blair confirmed

Ald. Joann Thompson (16th) died Monday at the age of 58, her chief of staff confirmed Tuesday.

"JoAnn suffered a sudden heart failure, finally succumbing to a health battle that she fought with the same courage and grace for which she was known and loved throughout her wonderful life," Debbie Blair said in a written statement to the press. "Her family deeply appreciates the kindness and good wishes that have already come from all quarters of our wonderful city and they ask for privacy during this difficult time as they prepare to say a final goodbye to our dear friend JoAnn."

Thompson had represented the 16th Ward since 2007. The ward includes the Englewood and Gage Park neighborhoods.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Thompson a "tireless advocate" for her constituents.

"Her caring spirit and constant smile made JoAnn someone who you wanted to be with and her values defined what it means to build one future as one Chicago," he said.

Due to the ward map being redrawn, Thompson was in a hotly-contested re-election battle. One of her opponents was Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th).

"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my colleague Ald. Thompson. We worked together as members of the Black Caucus on many important policy initiatives since we were both elected in 2007," Foulkes said in a statement. "I admired her fierce commitment to the constituents and communities of the 16th Ward. ... My prayers are with Ald. Thompson’s children and grandchildren."

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), the chairman of the Chicago City Council's Black Caucus, said Thompson was "an exceptional alderman" and "a fighter for her community."

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