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San Diego Official Died From Internal Bleeding

Councilman Charles Lewis, 37, had cirrhosis and other illnesses, an autopsy shows. He was under indictment for alleged bribery.

August 10, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — The death of City Councilman Charles Lewis was caused by internal bleeding, the result of chronic hepatic cirrhosis among other problems, the San Diego County medical examiner said Monday.

Lewis, 37, died Sunday just minutes after being stricken at home and being rushed by ambulance to a hospital.

Lewis suffered from bleeding veins in his esophagus, hypertension, pancreatitis, gastritis and cirrhosis of the liver, Dr. Glenn Wagner said after an autopsy.

Politicians, civic leaders and constituents in his 4th Council District gathered Monday at the New Creation Church to mourn his passing.

Mayor Dick Murphy called Lewis "a quiet but tenacious spirit." Lewis mother, Rosemary White-Pope, said her son "will be remembered as a man who loved the Lord, a man of integrity, a fierce warrior."

Lewis, a graduate of San Diego State, was a staff member for three-term Councilman George Stevens. When term limits precluded Stevens from seeking another term, Lewis was elected to succeed him.

A year ago, Lewis was one of three councilmen indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of accepting bribes from the owner of a nude dancing establishment in exchange for help in loosening city regulations for such clubs.

Lewis and co-defendants Michael Zucchet and Ralph Inzunza have denied any wrongdoing. Lewis was particularly fiery in his protestations of innocence and his vow to fight the charges in court.

By city law, the remaining two years of Lewis' term must be filled by a special election, possibly in late November.

Lewis is survived by his parents and his wife.

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