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Aurora Mayor Hogan dies after battle with cancer

Authors: Mark Harden, Kara Mason - May 13, 2018 - Updated: May 14, 2018

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Aurora Mayor Steve HoganAurora Mayor Steve Hogan. (Photo: Kathleen Lavine, Denver Business Journal, used by permission.)

Stephen D. Hogan, mayor of Aurora and an elected official representing Colorado’s third-largest city for a third of a century, died early Sunday following a battle with cancer, the city announced. He was 69.

City of Aurora communications director Kim Stuart posted this notice at 12:42 p.m. MT:

It is with the deepest sadness that we inform you that Stephen D. Hogan, Mayor of Aurora, passed away early this morning, May 13, 2018. He was 69 years old.

Mayor Hogan honorably served as mayor of Aurora from 2011 until his passing. His time as mayor was preceded by 24 years on the City Council.

The Hogan family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Mayor Stephen D. Hogan Memorial Fund via a link that will be on the city’s website at AuroraGov.org early this week. Donations will be distributed to the following causes important to Mayor Hogan:

  • University of Denver Stephen D. Hogan Scholarship Fund
  • 7/20 Memorial Fund
  • Aurora Korean Memorial Fund
  • Aurora History Museum

Details about services to honor Mayor Hogan and his life and recognize his years of distinguished service to the community will be shared as soon as they become available.

Hogan had announced in later March that he would not be seeking a third term as mayor, disclosing he had cancer. He said at the time:

As many of you may have heard, I have been dealing with some health-related issues over the last month. What my family and I initially assumed was the flu has turned to a more serious diagnosis. I have cancer. I am working closely with health care professionals to evaluate all treatment options.

Last Wednesday, Hogan announced he was entering home hospice care, saying this in his typical good-natured style:

To tell you the truth, I have never been much of a believer in term limits. I wanted you to know that my time as Mayor of Aurora will end sooner than I had desired. …

Please know that my cause of life is public service. It has been my distinct honor to serve as a Colorado State Representative, an Aurora City Councilmember, and as Mayor of the city of Aurora. Having served 34 years in elected office, the time has passed far too quickly. I am most proud that each day I gave my best efforts and heart for the betterment of this great city, region and state. I would respectfully encourage each person reading this message to embrace the honor of public service and continually seek to enrich the lives of our fellow residents. It is in this honor and in this service where leadership and inclusive governance will flourish.

Aurora is my heart. I am so proud of this city, my city. We have grown together and we have grieved together. As a city, we are persistent and we shall continue to prosper together. The people of Aurora define this city. A heartfelt thanks to the residents of Aurora, my former and current colleagues, and to all the city employees; what an honor it has been to serve with each of you! Thank you for allowing me to be part of your lives.

Hogan was elected Aurora mayor in 2011, succeeding Ed Tauer, and was re-elected in 2015. His term had been set to expire in November 2019.

Hogan served a single term in the Colorado House of Representatives in the mid-1970s, representing an Aurora district. He later served a total of six non-consecutive terms on the Aurora city council from the late ’70s to 2009.

He twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the early 1980s as a candidate in the 6th Congressional District.

As mayor, Hogan has seen his city face astonishing growth with the addition of RTD’s light-rail R Line — sometimes tangling with the agency over how it promoted the trans-Aurora train route — and the Gaylord Rockies hotel about to open in northeastern Aurora.

On his watch, the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus mushroomed into one of the nation’s largest health-care and research centers. He also led the city through dark times following the Aurora theater shooting.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, in a tweet addressed to Hogan when he announced his cancer, called him “a true gentleman and a great mayor for your residents. You have supported so many…”

City council member Marsha Berzins has been filling in for Hogan at city meetings since Hogan announced his diagnosis. As called for in the city charter, the city council will select a new mayor to serve the remainder of Hogan’s term, which ends November 2019.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.


Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for ColoradoPolitics.com. She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.