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Camden lobbyist, son of ex-governor, dies from coronavirus

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Coronavirus Outbreak (copy) (copy)

This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the United States. File/NIAID-RML via AP

COLUMBIA — A longtime lobbyist and son of former Gov. John West died Wednesday of complications from the novel coronavirus.

John "Jack" West III, 71, of Camden, was sickened last week. Family members were not immediately available, but West's death was confirmed by state Sen. Mia McLeod, Kershaw County officials and Winthrop University, which has a political program named after his father.

"Jack was extremely smart, giving and funny. He was a family man, adored his wife, kids and grandkids," McLeod said in a text message to The Post and Courier. "If he told me something, I could count on it."

West was a registered lobbyist for the Carolina Sporting Dog Association, S.C. Cities Coalition, the S.C. Childrens' Coalition and statewide stevedores' association, according to state Ethics Commission filings.

West oversaw Winthrop's West Forum with his sister, Shelton West Bosley.

"Jack will be remembered as a tireless advocate in inspiring and educating South Carolinians to become good citizens. His impact on Winthrop cannot be understated," interim President George Hynd said in a statement. 

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On Twitter, McLeod called West a "dear friend and former colleague" and urged Gov. Henry McMaster to issue a shelter-in-place order as a lifesaving measure. 

"If he doesn't, I'm extremely concerned that many more lives will be lost," McLeod told the newspaper. 

Kershaw County leads the state in confirmed coronavirus cases, with 63 reported as of Wednesday night. Across South Carolina, 424 people have tested positive, and seven have died from the disease. 

West's father was governor from 1971 through 1975 and was the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1977 to 1981.

Follow Adam Benson on Twitter @AdamNewshound12.

Benson joined The Post and Courier's Columbia bureau in November 2019. A native of Boston, he spent five years at the Greenwood Index-Journal and has won multiple South Carolina Press Association awards for his reporting.

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