Tampa Bay philanthropist David Straz dies at 77

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Well-known Tampa Bay philanthropist and former mayoral candidate David Straz Jr. has died. He was 77 years old.

Jarrod Holbrook, the executive director of the David A. Straz Jr. Foundation, announced the passing in a brief news release Monday evening.

“It is with a heavy heart the Straz family regrets to inform you that while on a recent fishing trip with close friends, David A. Straz, Jr. passed away peacefully in his sleep,” the statement said. “The Straz family is asking the media to respect their privacy during this difficult time. We will release funeral plans once they are final.”

David Straz is well-known around Tampa and leaves a lasting legacy behind.

Tampa’s performing arts center, The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, is named after the late philanthropist, along with Straz Hall – a residence hall at the University of Tampa. His philanthropy will also be remembered at ZooTampa at Lowry Park – the home of the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center.

Most recently, Straz ran for mayor in the City of Tampa. He was one of the final two candidates in a run-off election but was eventually defeated by Mayor Jane Castor.

Castor’s office released the following statement Monday night:

I’m saddened to hear about the passing of Mr. Straz. David’s indelible contributions to this city will be a part of our cultural fabric for decades to come. My heart goes out to the entire family during this very difficult time.”

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman also tweeted a statement saying the legacy of Straz “is evident all around us.”

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

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