State Sen. Frank Lombardo III of Johnston dies. What we know.

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JOHNSTON − Longtime state Sen. Frank Lombardo III of Johnston has died after a battle with bladder cancer.

"Our Senate family is heartbroken with the news that our friend and colleague Frank Lombardo passed away overnight," Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said Wednesday morning in a statement confirming Lombardo's death. "He was a passionate and effective representative of his constituents, and he embodied the spirit of collegiality and service to which every member of the Senate aspires."

"Frank’s dignity and courage in the face of illness was an inspiration to us all," Ruggerio said.

Sen. Frank Lombardo III   [The Providence Journal, file]
Sen. Frank Lombardo III [The Providence Journal, file]

Senate Majority Leader Ryan W. Pearson said: "Frank was not only a well-respected colleague but a dear friend. He never shied from giving tough feedback or challenging your thinking. That same spirit also extended to his adventurous hobbies, where he challenged and beat me down every ski mountain he could complete with a lot of commentary about it."

A Johnson Democrat, the 65-year-old Lombardo – who by day ran Frank Lombardo and Sons Inc., a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning business – was first elected to the Senate in November 2010. He chaired the Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee.

"Our prayers are with his wife, Patricia, their children, Frank and Victoria, their grandchildren and their entire family," Ruggerio said.

Other tributes to Lombardo poured in, including this statement by House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi on behalf of the House of Representatives: “We mourn the passing of Senator Frank Lombardo, who was a fierce advocate for the people of Johnston, the community he so loved.

"He was an exemplary public servant and a champion of small business. A true gentleman, Senator Lombardo treated everyone with respect and leaves a legacy of dedication and hard work on behalf of the people of Rhode Island."

Echoing the sentiments, Gov. Dan McKee directed Rhode Island flags to be flown at half-staff at all state facilities and buildings until sunset on the day of the late senator's interment.

Senate leadership pulled together this list of Lombardo's accomplishments:

"An avid motorcyclist himself, Sen. Lombardo sponsored legislation expanding access through DMV licensing to 3-wheeled motorcycles, helping disabled and veteran riders who prefer or need this alternative ... [and] recently enjoyed taking a cross-country motorcycle trip with his father."

"Fought for independent air quality monitoring around landfill and sponsored a 2012 law creating a minimum of four monitoring locations to continuously monitor ambient air for the presence of odorous contaminants from landfill gas.

"Passed law setting state goal of 50% reduction of solid waste at the landfill by 2025 through diversion, source reduction, re-use, recycling or composting.

"Successfully worked against inappropriate siting of solar farm in Winsor Farm.

"The owner of two small businesses, [Lombardo also] sponsored the 2018 Small Business Friendliness Omnibus law, which eliminated a number of unnecessary and duplicative licenses, removed small application fees and consolidated or eliminated fees for secondary business activities, such as an extra fee restaurants used to pay to serve ice cream and other frozen desserts and a $100 bond requirement for brewers."

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Johnston's Sen. Frank Lombardo III dies of bladder cancer