MORRISVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — William “Bill” Magee, a former New York assemblyman who represented a rural district east of Syracuse for nearly three decades, has died.

Magee died on Christmas Eve, his niece told He was 81.

He had tested positive for COVID-19 but was not showing serious symptoms, his niece, Robin Blazer Commins, told the news outlet. His cause of death was not clear.

A Democrat from Nelson, Magee was first elected to his state seat in 1990 and represented a district that included Madison, Otsego and Oneida counties. He previously served as a town supervisor in Nelson and worked at the New York State Fair.

He served in the Legislature until he was unseated in 2018, chairing its Agriculture Committee and becoming a vocal advocate for the state's farmers.

“Bill truly understood the needs of New York’s farmers and all his constituents and worked diligently in Albany to help them," U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said in a statement. "He will be missed by all who knew him.”