Former mayor Bill Hudnut dies at 84 after lengthy battle with illness

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Former mayor Bill Hudnut has passed away at the age of 84.

Hudnut's family announced his passing Sunday morning. They say he died in Maryland after battling a "lengthy illness."

“On behalf of our family, I would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and support during this difficult time.  It was a real gift to Bill that he had an opportunity to hear how much he meant to family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors—and to the communities he served—through your notes, cards, letters, personal visits, and comments on his CaringBridge posts,” said Hudnut's wife, Beverly.

Services are being planned at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, where he was senior pastor.

Hudnut was the longest serving Mayor of Indianapolis. He was sworn in on January 1, 1976 and served 16 years. During those years, more than $4 billion was committed to downtown Indianapolis redevelopment.

“The vision I have for Indianapolis is a city that is both economically competitive and compassionate toward urban and human problems,” Hudnut said during his last term.  “To make the City more livable involves more than just creating beautiful spaces and buildings.  It’s more than a solid economic foundation, and more than good jobs.  It’s embracing future change.  It’s dealing with tough human issues that touch the compassionate side in all of us.  It’s a good future for our kids.”

Indianapolis' current mayor, Joe Hogsett, released the following statement regarding Hudnut's passing:

"Today, our city mourns the loss of a visionary leader who cared so deeply for Indianapolis that he dedicated much of his career to its transformation.

Mayor Hudnut was ahead of his time, helping to turn, as he often said, “India-NO-place” into “India-SHOW-place,” and paving the way for the world class city that Indianapolis has become. He was a true public servant, with an energy and personality that captured the hearts and imaginations of countless residents.

Over the years, I was fortunate enough to get to know Mayor Hudnut very well– as an opponent for political office, as a leader of this community and as a friend.  In today’s politically polarized world, there are far too few like him.

During this difficult time, Steph and I have Beverly and the entire Hudnut family in our thoughts and prayers. For the City of Indianapolis, there will only ever be one Mayor Bill Hudnut. But it is my deepest aspiration that we will continue building on his legacy and in so doing, make our Mayor proud.”

Vice President-elect and Governor Mike Pence released the following statement:

“Karen and I were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Bill Hudnut was a one-of-a-kind leader whose faith, leadership and boundless enthusiasm inspired all of us who knew him. We send our love and prayers out to Beverly, his family, friends and all who mourn this uniquely gifted man. God bless you, Mayor. Your leadership and love for Indianapolis transformed our capitol city and will never be forgotten.”

A “Mayor Bill” statue was unveiled in December, 2014.

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