Durham County State Representative MaryAnn Black died Thursday after three decades of serving the Durham community in the general assembly and county commission. She had been undergoing treatment for cancer, colleagues said. 

“She was a trailblazer,” said Durham Committee chair Omar Beasley. “It’s a tough time right now altogether dealing with COVID-19—then we lose a pillar in this community.”

Black has served as a representative for District 29, which encompasses east Durham, since being appointed by Governor Roy Cooper in 2017. Before that, she served as a Durham County commissioner from 1990 to 2002. She worked as a social worker in Durham for over thirty years and most recently served as vice president of community relations for Duke University Health System. 

State Representative Marcia Morey, who has served alongside Black since 2017, said Black was undergoing treatment for cancer. Her death was unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, Morey said. 

“It’s heartbreaking,” Morey said. “She’s a beautiful person, a wonderful colleague and it’s really a big loss for all her friends, the city of Durham, and the state.”

This is developing story.

Contact Raleigh editor Leigh Tauss at ltauss@indyweek.com.

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