People in Brandon, Man., are mourning the death of Errol Black, who had just been honoured for his years of political advocacy. He was 73.

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Errol Black is seen in a CBC-TV interview in 2005, when he was a city councillor in Brandon, Man. He died on Sunday at the age of 73. (CBC)

The former city councillor died early Sunday following a lengthy battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig's disease.

A retired economics professor, Black was best known in the southwestern Manitoba city for fighting for social justice issues.

Among other things, Black led a campaign to ban smoking in public places when he was on city council.

Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell told CBC News that Black's death is a huge loss to the community.

"He'll be remembered most fondly as somebody who loved his community, who loved his family, who loved his province," he said Sunday.

Errol Black Park, Brandon, Man.

Caldwell added that Black "worked tirelessly to advance the causes of social justice in this community and to present and give voice to those who do not often have a voice in our society."

On Saturday, Caldwell presented Black with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

"I think his family was pleased that he was able to receive that medal before he passed," Caldwell said.

"He had a smile on his face when he got it, so we were all happy to be able to present it to him. But none of us had any idea that that would be the last time that we would see him alive."

Black's family says anyone who wants to pay tribute to him can do so at a memorial being set up at Errol Black Park.