Longtime San Francisco political activist Rose Pak died Sunday.
Pak was well-known for being the voice of the Chinatown neighborhood as well as playing a significant role in bringing current Mayor Ed Lee into office. She was 68, and her family said she died of natural causes following a kidney transplant, SFGate said.
"We are all in a state of shock and profoundly sad at this moment," said Gordon Chin, a founder and former director of Chinese Community Development Center, who spoke on behalf of Pak’s family and close friends.
Lee said he joined the entire community in mourning Pak's death.
"Rose and I have been friends for more than 40 years, and I am among a great many people whose lives were touched in a profound, positive way by this extraordinary woman," Lee said in a statement. "This is a great loss to the City as a whole and the Chinese community in particular – a community that Rose served, supported and fought for, often fiercely, her entire adult life."
Pak was born in Hunan, China in the late 1940s before moving to the city by the bay in 1967. Since that time, she immersed herself into the Chinatown community and became a significant proponent for the neighborhood's well-being, the SFGate reported.
Pak never held an elected position, but sparked community members to get involved in political efforts, according to SFGate.
"Rose was tough as nails; she swore like a sailor; she was fearless; and she was relentless, sometimes painfully so," Lee said. "But it was always in service of the cause she most believed in: uplifting her community."