Dr. Michael Lewis, former state Department of Health and Human Resources secretary, died Friday at the Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston. He was 70.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a statement Sunday night about Lewis' death.
"Throughout his career, he was a kind, compassionate healthcare advocate who dedicated his life to the health of all West Virginians," he said.
Tomblin said he was grateful for Lewis's service at DHHR and as vice chancellor for health sciences at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
He also offered condolences to Lewis' wife, Mino, and daughters Beth and Tana.
Tomblin appointed Lewis as DHHR secretary during his first official day as acting governor in November 2010. Lewis resigned in June 2012 citing health concerns.
In his resignation letter, Lewis thanked Tomblin for allowing him to serve his home state.
"My life has come full circle, from the chronically-ill child raised in southern West Virginia in need of healthcare, to heading the department responsible for delivery of the same. Serving West Virginia has been the greatest honor of my life," he wrote.
Lewis was born in Point Pleasant, N.J. but was raised in Rock Creek, in Raleigh County, according to an obituary prepared by his family.
He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering from West Virginia University Institute of Technology before earning his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech in 1968.
He enrolled at West Virginia University's medical school in 1971, earning his degree in just three years. Lewis then opened a family practice in St. Marys in Pleasants County, where he remained for 10 years.
Lewis then served as chairman of WVU's department of family medicine, and as vice chancellor of health sciences.
In 2002, he became vice chancellor for health sciences at East Carolina University. He returned to West Virginia in 2011 after Tomblin appointed him as DHHR secretary.
Lewis' family is planning a memorial service for 1 p.m on Saturday, Aug. 10 at Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home in Charleston.