Los Angeles civic leader John Mack dies at 81, family confirms

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Los Angeles civic leader John Mack died late Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 81. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Los Angeles civic leader John Mack died late Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 81.

Mack served as president of the Los Angeles Urban League from 1969 until his retirement in 2005, promoting issues of employment, education and economic development.

The Urban League became one of the country's most successful nonprofit organizations with Mack in charge, generating an annual budget of $25 million during his tenure.

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Mack also co-founded Los Angeles Black Leadership Coalition on Education in 1977 and was later appointed vice president of the United Way Corporation of Council Executives.

Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa named Mack president of the board of Police Commissioners of the Los Angeles Police Department in 2005.

Mack received awards from numerous institutions, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Operation Hope, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the California Afro American Museum.

Mayor Eric Garcetti released a statement on Mack.

"John Mack's wisdom, integrity, and kindness helped transform Los Angeles. As a civil rights warrior, police commission president, and ally to all who love freedom and fairness, John made history with a fierce determination to pursue justice, an unshakable commitment to equality, and an unbreakable bond with the community he worked tirelessly to uplift every day of his remarkable life. He moved both spirits and systems - by merging his gentle bearing with a fearless resolve to make change that has touched and saved countless lives.

I will always miss John as a friend, advisor, and moral compass. And like many throughout our city and world, I will forever find inspiration in his extraordinary ability to convene us around tables of understanding, humanity, and peace --- especially in uncertain moments and at times of great strife. My thoughts are with his children, who are close friends to Amy and me, and I grieve with all who loved and admired this incredible man, whose words, deeds, and accomplishments will be felt for years to come and cherished through the ages."
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