Multiple sources have confirmed that Arkansas Livestock & Poultry Commission director, former State Senator and one-time Congressional candidate Steve Bryles died on Friday morning (Dec. 28).

He had been suffering from esophageal cancer recently.

Bryles, who represented Mississippi County and northeast Arkansas in the State Senate for a decade, started work with the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission as Deputy Director in January 2011.

He became Executive Director for the agency in March 2012.

“Steve Bryles was a good friend with a gentle heart who never wanted to stop helping people,” said Gov. Beebe in a prepared statement. “His work was always deliberate, his dedication to public service unwavering, and regardless of the stakes, he always kept a level head.¬† In all the years I knew Steve, I don’t ever remember seeing him lose his temper.”

Bryles spent 27 years of in the cotton industry prior to his agency public service.

He was born in Piggott, Arkansas and attended college at the University of Arkansas where he majored in agricultural economics.  Bryles and his wife, Pamela, are parents to one son and two daughters.