The longtime mayor of Fairmont City died of an apparent heart attack early Wednesday, village officials confirmed.
Alex Bregen, 63, died Wednesday morning, according to interim mayor David Suarez and the Fairmont City Police Department.
"Mayor Bregen was at home this morning when he was stricken with an apparent heart attack," read a statement released by Fairmont City Police Chief Scott Penny. "He was transported by ambulance to Gateway Hospital in Granite City, when he was pronounced dead at 7:50 a.m."
Penny said the cause of death appeared to be cardiac arrest.
“He was dedicated, and he loved his city,” Suarez said of Bregen. “He did everything for the city; it was his whole life.”
Bregan had served as mayor of Fairmont City for nearly 23 years, taking office in 1995.
“His love for the kids and the town, that was his whole thing,” Suarez said. “We have a poor town, not a lot of money. But he was always dedicating his time to them.”
Suarez, a 27-year trustee on the village board, was sworn in as acting mayor Wednesday. He said the village board will be consulting with its lawyers on proper procedures, but as far as he knows, an officially designated mayor will be appointed by the board until the April 2019 election. At that time, candidates would run for the remainder of Bregen’s term, which had approximately three years left, Suarez said.
Bregen was a graduate of Assumption High School in East St. Louis and had a bachelor's degree from Benedictine College in Kansas, according to news reports. Long divorced, he had remarried only four months ago, Suarez said. Penny's statement indicated that Bregen was survived by his wife and a son.
Funeral arrangements are pending.