Former City Commissioner Joe Duda has died

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Former City Commissioner Joe Duda, the Republican leader of the 66th Ward in Northeast Philadelphia, has died. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer )

Former City Commissioner Joe Duda, the Republican leader of the 66th Ward in Northeast Philadelphia, has died, according to a statement released on his political party's web site.

"We regret to inform you of the passing of former City Commissioner, longtime Executive Director and Leader of the 66th Ward Joe Duda. Joe committed his life to the Philadelphia Republican City Committee and the City of Philadelphia and will truly be missed. More information and details with respect to services to follow."

Mike Meehan, the party's general counsel, confirmed Duda's death, saying he had been hospitalized on Christmas Day and died last night.  Meehan didn't have much information about the nature of Duda's illness.

"Joe was a very private guy," Meehan said. "He'll be missed."

Duda, who served as treasurer of the Republican City Committee, was defeated in 2011 in his bid for a fifth four-year term on the three member commission.  Al Schmidt, now the commission's vice chairman, beat Duda to take the one Republican seat. 

Duda's defeat was widely seen as the result of a civil war in the city's Republican Party, which was resolved when State Rep. John Taylor replaced Vito Canuso as party chairman.

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