State Superintendent Brian Whiston, who led the Michigan Department of Education since 2015, has died. He was 56.
The department said Whiston died Monday evening at his home, surrounded by family. He had gone on long-term disability leave Friday after being treated for cancer since last fall.
State education board co-presidents Casandra Ulbrich and Richard Zeile issued a statement Tuesday calling Whiston a "wonderful person who devoted his life to serving others." They say his vision to make Michigan a top 10 education state will endure.
Gov. Rick Snyder also credited Whiston's work, calling him an "outstanding partner" and citing initiatives on workforce development and partnerships to help struggling districts.
Whiston previously was superintendent in Dearborn, Michigan's third-largest district, and lobbied for Oakland County's intermediate district.
Funeral arrangements were pending.