Just five days after announcing that he was battling cancer and seeking treatment, Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson passed away at the age of 50.
Thompson died Sunday surrounded by family after announcing that he would be taking leave to seek treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His wife, Lu-Shawn, wrote on Facebook, “The world lost a great man. Rest in Peace to my husband.” A source told New York Daily News that Thompson had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer earlier this year.
Gov. Cuomo ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff this morning, stating, “I am profoundly saddened. Ken was a dedicated public servant who embodied the highest principles of the law.” Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray also issued a statement, saying, “With a life and promise cut far too short, our city was blessed with but a glimpse of Ken’s unwavering commitment to justice.”
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Eric Gonzalez, Thompson’s chief assistant, will step in to lead the office and will likely serve as acting DA until next year’s election. Thompson took office in January 2014 and made history by becoming Brooklyn’s first African-American chief prosecutor. Thompson also became the first to defeat a sitting Brooklyn district attorney since 1911 after he defeated Charles Hynes, who’d served since 1990.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be made public. Thompson is survived by his wife of 17 years, two children, Kennedy and Kenny, his mother, father, sister, and brother. Our prayers and condolences go out to the family.