After a long illness, Orange County Clerk of Courts Lydia Gardner died in a Winter Park hospital last night, according to Leesa Bainbridge, Gardner's spokeswoman.
Gardner was recently re-elected for her fourth term and sworn in on Jan. 8. Gardner has been clerk since 2001.
"I look forward to continuing to serve our citizens for another four years," Gardner said in a statement.
In 2010, Gardner notified her staff and other courthouse personnel that she is battling breast cancer, according to one of her top aides and an e-mail Gardner sent out.
In an e-mail sent to the clerk's office April 8, Gardner explained her reason for having missed an office event.
"I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and have had my first of many chemotherapy treatments," she wrote. "I'm tired but not as wiped out as I'd feared, though the cumulative effect in the near future might keep me home a day or so a week."
She described her prognosis as "excellent" and said she was being well-treated through Florida Hospital.
Gardner advised her staff to "continue to look out for one another and continue making this a world-class operation."
Gardner, 65, was an Orange County School Board member and a manager for Sprint telecommunications before her election as clerk in 2000. She was elected to a third, four-year term in 2008 and has emphasized customer service and modernization of the clerk's online service during her time in office.
The Winter Park resident has two children and four grandchildren, her website says. She is a University of Michigan graduate with a bachelor's degree and graduated from the Management Program at Rollins College, Crummer Graduate School of Business, in 1999, shortly before first winning the clerk's office.
While not the most visible elected position in county government, the clerk's job has become increasingly important with Orange County's growth, tremendous court caseloads and a number of high-profile cases playing out in local courtrooms.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.
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