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FARMINGTON — A former Navajo Nation Council delegate who later served as a vice president during a turbulent period in tribal government has died.

Irving Marcus Billy, 77, died on June 2 in Tuba City, Ariz.

His death was announced Monday in separate press releases from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President and the council's Office of the Speaker.

Billy started his service on the tribal council in 1987, representing Tuba City and Coalmine Canyon in Arizona, the speaker's office release states.

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He was appointed interim vice chairman in 1989 after the tribal council suspended then-Chairman Peter MacDonald amid allegations of corruption and fraud.

Billy went on to serve as interim vice president alongside interim President Leonard Haskie after the council approved establishing a three-branch government.

"Billy rose to the occasion without any hesitation as a true leader should. He will be remembered for this," tribal President Russell Begaye said in the release from his office.

Council Delegate Otto Tso, who represents the Tó Nanees Dizí Chapter, also remembered Billy's public service in the Speaker's Office release.

"Mr. Billy was known throughout the local communities as a compassionate man who cared very much for his family, his community and all Navajo people," Tso said.

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