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      Former Columbia Chamber of Commerce president best described as a leader

      COLUMBIA, SC (WACH)- The sudden announcement of Ike McLeese's death has weighed heavy on many in Columbia.

      McLeese died Tuesday.

      He suffered a mild heart attack midway through the year which led him to make the official announcement that he'll step down from the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

      "Ike dedicated himself for the last twenty years specifically to growing business and entrepreneurship for people here,â?? said Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia. McLeese is well known for his support of the Military.

      In 2005, The Base Realignment and Closure Commission looked at what Military bases should possibly close or get consolidated. McLeese worked tirelessly to help ensure that the doors to Ft. Jackson and McIntire remained open, which turned out to be one of the greatest economic developments announced in the region.

      "He was able to not only make sure that did we save Ft. Jackson and McIntire, but that we grew those efforts," said Bob Coble, former Mayor of Columbia and long time friend of McLeese.

      Not only was McLeese described as a family man who was kind and caring, but he was also described as a true Gamecock fan.

      "When we were on trips, the main thing we would have to do is to make sure we had somebody tell us if Carolina won or lost,â?? said Coble.

      McLeese's work in the capital city also received recognition from Republicans and Democrats alike, who both praised his commitment to the community.