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Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — An employee of North Carolina state Sen. Don East says the seven-term Republican legislator has died at age 67.

The state senator’s legislative aide Steven Webb said East died early Monday at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. He had undergone back surgery a week ago. East’s death also was reported by state Senate leader Phil Berger’s office.

East was a former police officer and Surry County commissioner who first joined the Senate in 1995, left at the end of 2000 and rejoined the chamber in 2005. The Republican leadership in the Senate last year named him co-chairman of two environmental committees, where he sought to scale back what many GOP legislators called unnecessary regulations and spending.

East was running for re-election and his name will remain on the ballot.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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