The former mayor of a Northern California city who stepped down after he harshly criticized President Donald Trump and his supporters died Saturday in a plane crash, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Dr. Bill Kirby, who was the mayor of Auburn, died in the crash Saturday morning near the Auburn Municipal Airport, officials told The Bee.
Kirby, a urologist, was the pilot of the plane that crashed shortly after 11 a.m., the newspaper reported.
A passenger in the plane suffered minor injuries and was transported to a hospital, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The Bee reported that a Facebook post from Sacramento political consultant Jeff Raimundo carried a statement from the Kirby family confirming he was the victim.
“Our family is devastated by this tragic news,” the statement by the family said.
“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, 72, had been a licensed pilot since at least 2009, according to public records cited by the Bee.
Kirby gained notoriety last week after social media posts criticizing Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and comparing the president’s supporters to KKK members.
BREAKING: Auburn (Calif.) Mayor Dr. Bill Kirby shared a reposted meme last Thursday from his personal Facebook account. The image depicted a hooded KKK member and included the text: “Good news for Trump supporters is that most of them already have masks”https://t.co/ukTcr9OPRj
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) April 15, 2020
He told the Auburn Journal a week ago that his Facebook posts were made on a personal page and that “this has nothing to do with my job. I reposted it.”
He added that he “absolutely” believes Trump is a racist.
The mayor of Auburn, CA is facing backlash tonight over controversial social media posts. One post appears to equate Trump supporters to members of the KKK. Mayor Bill Kirby has been a vocal critic of Pres Trump but community members say this crossed the line. Here’s his response pic.twitter.com/6cr1Su1aN0
— Bridgette Bjorlo (@bridgettebjorlo) April 13, 2020
Kirby’s posts and statements created an outcry and calls for his recall.
He announced during a City Council meeting Monday that he was stepping aside from his post as mayor and was expected to be succeeded this week by Councilman Daniel Berlant, The Bee reported.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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