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Todd Portune, Former Hamilton County Commissioner, Has Died

Todd Portune in 2018.
Todd Portune in 2018.

Todd Portune, who spent nearly 30 years in office as a Hamilton County commissioner, died at his home in Green Township Saturday, according to a statement from his family. He was 61.

"Todd was a tireless champion for all people, and has left the world a better place through his long legacy of care and love for Hamilton County," the statement read.

In September 2019, Portune - who had long battled cancer - announced the disease had returned and that chemotherapy treatments did not stop it from spreading. He added that health may mean he would not serve the remainder of his term, which would end on Jan 1, 2021. On Dec. 31, 2019, he resigned from his position.

Portune has battled severe health problems for more than 20 years. In 1996, doctors discovered tumors on his spine. Treatment for a blood clot in 2002 caused those tumors to hemorrhage, causing partial paralysis. Last year, he had his left leg amputated because of another tumor, and also had precautionary chemotherapy treatments. Earlier this year he fell at his home, causing further injury to his spine and returning him to a wheelchair. His cancer return was confirmed in April, and a series of experimental treatments this summer weren't effective in stopping it from spreading. 

Victoria Parks, his former chief of staff who the Democratic Party had recently named as a placeholder to serve out the reminder of his term, called her former boss "a force of nature." 

"I will miss him as a mentor and as a friend, his example will inspire me for the rest of my days," she said in a statement. 

Mayor John Cranley echoed Parks' sentiment. "Commissioner Portune was a force of nature, a visionary with a true servant's heart," he said in a statement. "But most important, he was my friend and I viewed him as a mentor that taught me the importance of speaking up for the public interest. ... May we all strive to live up to the legacy he leaves behind." 

Portune is survived by his wife and his children Ethan, Ellyse and Emma. 

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