HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Longtime former Hampton Mayor Jimmy Eason has died at the age of 80.

City of Hampton spokesperson Robin McCormick confirmed the former mayor’s passing Wednesday evening.

Eason was the longest-serving mayor of the city since the end of World War II and was the first person to be elected mayor of Hampton by all the citizens, not selected by City Council, in 1982.

He served in the position until 1998.

Eason also served on the Hampton School Board from 1978 to 1982, as president and CEO of Hampton Roads Partnership, director of Hampton’s Economic Development Office, and a Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority board member.

In his 16 years as mayor, Eason supported numerous development projects and actively pushed for diversity throughout the city. He was instrumental in establishing the Healthy Families Initiative to promote early-childhood education for all. During his tenure as mayor, the first African-American to serve as city manager was appointed.

Current Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck noted Eason’s passing as a “tremendous loss for the city.”

“I believe that being a Hampton native motivated him to make Hampton as great as it could be. And, in that pursuit, he saw endless possibilities.”

Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting thanked Eason for his work enhancing the city and impacting the community for the better.

“He loved Hampton, and we loved him,” said Bunting.