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Blount County commissioners are mourning the loss of their colleague and friend.

Police say Gordon Wright Sr. died of natural causes on a trail near his Walland property.

Thursday, the commission held its first meeting since his passing. They held a moment of silence to honor Wright and covered his name plate with a black cloth.

Commissioners said Wright's death was tragic and unexpected. They say they will remember him as caring and dedicated.

"He worked hard, he studied hard on all of his issues. He was passionate about his projects. He was passionate about the Great Smoky Mountains. We will just miss his hard work," said Rhonda Pitts, Blount Co. commission secretary.

Wright served as a commissioner since 2010. He was 69 years old.

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