Dr. Ed Thompson, longtime head of the Mississippi Department of Health, has died at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer.
Thompson served two stints as state health officer. His latest began in 2007, returning after working at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for three years.
Thompson also served as Mississippi state health officer from 1993 to 2002.
As the state's health chief, Thompson was credited with progress in the areas of infant mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and increasing public health field staff.
“Dr. Ed Thompson was an outstanding leader not only for the Mississippi State Department of Health, which he so faithfully served, but also nationally, where his medical expertise and counsel were highly respected," said Gov. Haley Barbour. "We were blessed to have him return to Mississippi in 2007 from the Centers for Disease Control for a second term as State Health Officer. His death is a tremendous loss for the state. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Marsha, and his entire family during this difficult time.”
Senate Public Health Committee Chairman Hob Bryan says the Department of Health was well run under Thompson's direction.