'Popular' Wolverhampton mayor dies after illness
A "hugely popular" city mayor has died following an illness, a council has confirmed.
Councillor Elias Mattu, who represented Wolverhampton's Graiseley ward for almost 18 years, died at the age of 59.
The leader of the council described him as a "loyal, dedicated" man who will be "profoundly missed."
Flags outside the city's Civic Centre were flying at half mast on Friday and a public book of condolence has been set up inside the building.
Labour councillor Mr Mattu was the 159th Mayor of Wolverhampton, elected on 17 May 2017.
He leaves behind his wife Asha and children Anthony, Ishmael and Jessica.
Prior to his death, the councillor was known for his passion for sports, particularly power-lifting.
He was a regional coach and referee, opening his own club in the late 1980s, training five British power-lifting champions and one European champion.
Originally born in Punjab, North India, Mr Mattu came to live in Wolverhampton at the age of nine.
Educated at Graiseley School, Wulfrun College and Wednesbury College of Commerce and Technology, he then studied law at Wolverhampton University while volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said: "Elias was my friend and a loyal, dedicated and loving family man.
"Elias served his city and council for nearly two decades with huge dedication and commitment. He was one of our city's favourite sons, a hugely popular councillor and person, hugely respected by the people he served.
"He will be profoundly missed."