Fort Valley State Rep. Tony Sellier died last night after complications from surgery. He was 65.
That's according to Peach County coroner Kerry Rooks and Sellier's Republican colleague Rep. Allen Peake.
Peake, who said he spoke to Sellier's wife, said Sellier became dehydrated after a medical procedure about a week ago. He apparently died of congestive heart failure, Peake said.
Rooks said Sellier died Tuesday night at Peach County Medical Center.
Arrangements include two visitations Friday at th Byron Municipal Complex. The first begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. The second will be from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. with a Rosary service immediately folling the 7 p.m. visitation.
Funeral services will be held at St. Juliana's Catholic Church in Fort Valley at 3 p.m. Saturday. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made either to the American Cancer Society or a favored charity.
Peake, who served four years in the legislature with Sellier, said, "He was a great guy, a tremendous public servant and a wonderful family man. He will be sorely missed."
Governor Sonny Perdue announced that flags on state buildings and grounds will fly at half staff on the day of Sellier's funeral. The Governor issued this statement:
"Mary and I are deeply saddened this morning as we mourn the loss of Rep. Tony Sellier, a beloved friend and public servant to Middle Georgia. Tony's compelling personal history, along with his deep commitment to faithfully representing his constituents, made him one of the most respected members of the Georgia General Assembly. We join all of Middle Georgia in praying for God's comfort and peace for his wife Judye, their three children and ten grandchildren, and for the entire Fort Valley community that Tony loved so dearly."
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston released a statement that said, in part, "He was one of the most decent and honorable individuals to serve the state of Georgia. The integrity and honor he brought to public service and the exceptional care he had for those he served will be a lasting tribute to his memory."
In Fort Valley Mayor John Stumbo ordered the city flag lowered to half mast to honor Sellier for his assistance to the city.
"He was always very accessible and for a local politician in dealing with the state House in Atlanta, accessibility is really important," Stumbo said. "I never called but what he didn't call me back just as quickly as he possibly could."
Blue Bird Body Co. also ordered the company flag lowered to half mast to honor Sellier, who worked three decades for Blue Bird.
Gov.-elect Nathan Deal also issued a statement regarding Sellier's death.
"It was with great sadness that Sandra and I learned of the passing of Rep. Tony Sellier," Deal said in a news release. "During the campaign, he was an enthusiastic supporter and was front and center whenever we were in the Middle Georgia region. A Georgian and American by choice, he dearly loved this state and served it well. Our thoughts and prayers are with Judy and his children and grandchildren."
House Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones said in a news release that she is "deeply saddened by the loss...He was a great man and an honorable leader for Middle Georgia and the state as a whole. He will be truly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family."
As a Republican, Sellier represented House District 136 for the past four years. The district includes Crawford County and parts of Bibb, Houston, Lamar, Monroe, Peach and Upson counties.
Last month, he won re-election to a third term in the General Assembly.
State law requires that a special election must be held to fill Sellier's vacant seat.
The law says that Gov. Perdue must declare the vacancy no later than 10 days after it occurs. The special election must be held not less than 30 nor more than 60 days after the governor declares the vacancy.
Sellier is a retired accountant. He worked for the Blue Bird Corporation in Fort Valley for nearly 35 years.
According to his official biography, Sellier was born in Trinidad and raised in the oil camps of Venezuela where his father worked for Mobil Oil Company. He came to the U.S. at age 15 and became a citizen at 28.
He and his wife raised beef cattle, pecans and peaches on their family farm.