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A prominent member of the Flint City Council has died, and the community is devastated. 

Three-term winning Councilman Eric Mays, who served the 1st Ward, joined the ancestors on Feb. 24. Details of Mays’ cause of death haven’t been released at this time, but the outspoken politician and former auto worker was 65. Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley expressed his condolences with a statement. 

“This is a tremendous loss for our community and a shock to all friends and family. As our community grieves during this difficult time, on behalf of Councilman Mays’ family, we ask that community members respect their privacy and allow them time and space to mourn. We continue to lift the family in prayer.”

The 65-year-old city councilman also had quite a presence on TikTok. He was often seen on video interacting with his constituents and demonstrating the example of being a community leader. He had amassed over 200k followers on the popular social media platform. 


Mays was first elected to Flint’s city council in 2013. However, it wasn’t a landslide victory. The politician edged out his opponent, Anita Brown, by eight votes. In 2017, Mays took Brown down again by over 800 votes. His last reelection victory was in November 2021. 

Although his constituents may have adored him, Mays often drew ire from his fellow councilmembers for his no-nonsense approach to issues affecting Flint residents. He was an outspoken advocate for the city during the infamous water crisis in the mid-2010s. In 2021, the Flint native boldly proposed that the $94.7 million COVID-19 relief funds be used to build a water purification plant in the city. Mays further suggested that the water could be bottled and distributed throughout the country. 

Mays was a 1976 graduate of Flint Northern High School, and he graduated from Michigan State University. 

Councilwoman Tonya Burns spoke about her fallen comrade. 

He touched the whole world,” Burns said. “I’m gonna miss my friend.”

Mays’ nephew, Kevin (who also shares his last name), expressed what losing his uncle meant to him and the community, saying “his voice was appreciated.”

“It’s often tough for people to kind of humanize times like this when you’re dealing with somebody with such a massive spirit, but man, this is a tough time for us,” he continued. “Again, we appreciate everybody. We’re definitely going to do everything that we can do to keep his legacy alive and to continue to push forward for our family.”

In December, Mays was suspended from Flint City Council for three months. He reportedly was about to fight the suspension at the federal level. His colleagues voted five to three to suspend him after he was accused of going off during a session as councilmembers voted whether or not to approve $40 million worth of funding. 

Mays will be remembered for his fire and his legacy of service to the city where he was born and raised. 

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