Mitch Greenlick, a longtime state representative who played an influential role in Oregon’s health care policies, has died at age 85.

House Speaker Tina Kotek said in a statement that Greenlick died Friday night after battling a number of health issues.

Greenlick, a Democrat who had represented northwest Portland and northern Washington County in the legislature since 2003, had planned to retire at the end of his term, Kotek said Saturday.

“He died while serving in office, doing what he loved. Oregonians lost a champion for fairness, justice, and health care as a human right. His work and legacy will benefit Oregonians for years to come,” she said.

Greenlick founded Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research and directed it for 30 years, the Oregonian/Oregonlive.com reported.

Earlier this week, Greenlick participated in a phone conference on the state’s response to coronavirus, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, told the Oregonian/Oregonlive.com. She said he posed questions to Oregon Health Authority officials during the call.

Gov. Kate Brown praised Greenlick’s work on health care.

“Representative Mitch Greenlick dedicated his career to fighting for Oregonians to have a better life,” Brown said in a statement. “A fierce advocate for expanding health care, he championed initiatives that helped push our state forward, including extending the Oregon Health Plan for low-income and underserved communities.”