Salt Lake County Councilman and Utah businessman Sam Granato has died after a battle with cancer, his family said Wednesday. He was 67 years old.
“Sam passed away peacefully at home this afternoon surrounded by loved ones,” his family said in a statement. “He fought an amazing battle with cancer over two years.”
Granato, a Democrat, was first elected in 2013 to the county council, representing the 4th district, which covers the Salt Lake Valley's east side including Millcreek, Holladay and Cottonwood Heights. According to his council bio, Granato was born and raised in Utah as the son of a first-generation Italian American.
Granato is survived by his wife, Ann Wyss, four children and nine grandchildren. Family spokeswoman Leslie Reberg said he struggled with sarcoma, a rare form of bone and tissue cancer, for two years.
“He was working and doing things right up to the very end, which is how he lived his life,” Reberg said.
Granato owned and operated Frank Granato Importing Co., the company established by his father. It supplies restaurants with imported Italian and Mediterranean foods and sells prepared sandwiches, salads and entrees at two deli locations.
Tributes for Granato poured in on Wednesday evening, including from Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.
“Sam Granato’s passing is a heartbreaking loss to everyone who knew him or have served alongside him,” McAdams wrote on Facebook. “Everyone who knew Sam felt loved by him and watched with admiration as he selflessly gave to those around him and to the whole community.”
In a joint statement, other members of the Salt Lake County Council said Granato was a “true friend” to all of them.
“Our hearts ache for the loss of colleague and friend. We will deeply miss his kindness and the thoughtfulness he brought to his life of public service,” council members wrote.
“Throughout my career in public service Sam Granato was one of my closest friends, strongest champions, and trusted advisor,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “He will be missed by all who knew him, and his legacy will be cherished by many more.”
In 2010, Granato ran for U.S. Senate but lost to Republican Mike Lee.
“Sam Granato was a great businessman, public servant, and a pillar in the Salt Lake community,” Sen. Lee said in a statement. “I was lucky enough to interact with him during out 2010 Senate race and appreciated his experience and our shared dialogue.”
Funeral details have not yet been released.