SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker who served for a decade in the Oregon Legislature before resigning in 2017 for health reasons has died, the GOP leadership said Thursday.

Victor “Vic” Gilliam, of Silverton, was 66 years old and had Lou Gehrig’s disease. He had continued serving even when the disease slurred his speech and caused him to walk in the Oregon State Capitol with a cane.

“Never one to back down from a challenge, Vic had a heart for service and was dedicated to all Oregonians. His famous smile and good-nature earned him friends across the state,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod, of Stayton.

In November 2015, Gilliam announced that he received a preliminary diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

The year before, he had participated in the ice bucket challenge, aimed at raising donations to fund research into ALS, with his friend Rep. Brian Clem, a Democrat from Salem. A video shows the two on a bench on the Oregon State Capitol grounds getting buckets of ice and ice water poured over them as they pretended to hold a meeting.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, was the Oregon House speaker during Gilliam’s first years in the House. Merkley on Thursday remembered Gilliam for “his measured, thoughtful contributions to developing better policies.”

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“He endured a vicious disease with grace while continuing to serve Oregon well. He will be much missed,” Merkley said.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said Gilliam “was spectacular when he was giving a speech and could always make people laugh.

“He had a special sensitivity for the most valuable Oregonians, seniors and children,” Courtney said. “You could tell that he took the legislative process seriously and felt it was a high honor to be a public servant.”

Gilliam was appointed to the House in January 2007 and was elected five times before resigning in 2017.