On Friday, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that former West Covina Mayor Mike Spence was found dead Thursday evening at the Folk Inn, a motel in Ontario.
Autopsy results are still pending, but investigators suspect that drug overdose may have been responsible, according to Detective Fred Alvarez, quoted in the Tribune.
Spence, who was 52 at the time of his death, has long battled substance abuse and drug addiction. In 2016, Spence was involved in an accident that resulted in him being charged with a DUI. He would go on to plead guilty to driving under the influence of methamphetamine.
Last May, Spence was stripped of his Mayoral seat after being found unconscious in a Costa Mesa hotel room. Spence stayed on the City Council, and was unseated in November.
Colleagues described Spence as devout, conservative and a vocal critic of excessive government spending and high taxes.
He was “one of the smartest people I ever knew,” current mayor Lloyd Johnson told the Tribune. “He was very respected as a person, politician, even adversary, and no one can take that from him.”
The city’s mayor pro tem, Tony Wu agreed Spence “worked very hard on his policies. But it is very sad that he had these demons he could not control.”