JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville mayor and current City Councilman Tommy Hazouri will enter hospice care at home after a brief hospitalization that was said to be due to complications from a lung transplant surgery he had last year.
Hazouri, 76, underwent surgery for a lung transplant at Mayo Clinic in July 2020 -- less than a month after he had been sworn in as the City Council’s president.
News4Jax learned Wednesday afternoon he would be released from Mayo Clinic to receive hospice care at home.
“Tommy deeply appreciates all the thoughts, well wishes and prayers from the Jacksonville community,” said a release from the City Council. “While his lungs may be failing him, his heart remains full for the people of this city. The Hazouri family asks that you continue respecting their privacy in this difficult time.”
Hazouri has had a lengthy political career, serving in the Florida House of Representatives from 1974 to 1986 and as mayor of Jacksonville from 1987 to 1991, was on the Duval County School Board from 2004-2012 and he was elected to City Council in 2015, re-elected in 2019 and served as Council President last year.
(FROM THE VAULT: Tommy Hazouri before & during his time as Jacksonville’s mayor)
Coming back from surgery, Hazouri led the council during much of the pandemic and during the Jaguars push to develop Lot J.
During his one term as mayor, Hazouri is remembered for presiding over the end of tolls on Jacksonville’s four largest bridges and tightening laws on paper companies and chemical plants.
News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney, head of the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute, joined The Morning Show on Thursday to discuss Hazouri’s lengthy career of public service.
He said to Hazouri has been passionate about Jacksonville would be an understatement.
“Tommy’s roots run deep. He was born and raised in Jacksonville. Here at Jacksonville University, he was student body president here and as you mentioned in 1974, he began a career of nearly 50 years of public service -- from 1974 in the Florida Legislature, spanning three Florida legislative bodies, mayor, City Council right up until today -- 33 of those years he held elective office,” Mullaney said. “A remarkable career with deep, deep roots in Jacksonville.”
Mullaney said Hazouri is also a mentor to many of the politicians who serve today, and he would want them to continue to build a better Jacksonville.
Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist was at a campaign event in Jacksonville on Thursday morning and had some words to say about Hazouri.
“I’ve worked with Tommy Hazouri a lot. He’s a great man. My prayers go out to he and his family. I pray that he gets through this. I’m sure that he will. He’s a strong guy, and I love him to death. He’s just a wonderful man,” Crist said.
Hazouri in 2018 joined five other former Jacksonville mayors for a News4Jax town hall on the 50th anniversary of Jacksonville’s consolidated government, discussing the city’s strides and areas that needed improvement.
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, members shared prayers for Hazouri. After hearing on Wednesday that he would enter hospice, people at City Hall reacted to the development.
“Tommy is a dear friend. He is a mentor. My thoughts and prayers are out to him and his family,” City Council President Sam Newby said.
Newby said he spoke to Hazouri on Wednesday morning and he was in good spirits and thought he would be back.
“He was in good spirits and he just more concerned about Jacksonville,” Newby said. “Tommy is a fighter; he’s always been a fighter and I think he is going to be back.”
He’s my friend first & colleague second. DeAndre’ & I both love & support Tommy & Carol…and we continue to pray for health & healing for Tommy. I affectionately call him “Hazardous” not Hazouri. It’s an inside joke abt the “good trouble” we make serving together. 🙏🏽💞✌🏽 🌻 https://t.co/prVQezFIlh— B.A.Priestly Jackson (@Priestjax) August 25, 2021
.@CMTommyHazouri is one of a kind. He has a unique breadth of #Jaxpol governing experience. He has been present & leading during numerous key moments over the last 50 years. He endearingly & memorably wears his heart & humanity on his sleeve. Prayers for Mayor Hazouri & family. https://t.co/RtQnsEawJ4— Chris Hand (@chrishandjax) August 25, 2021