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PHOENIX -- Hundreds of people gathered Monday to say goodbye to former Arizona lawmaker Ben Miranda, who died suddenly from heart failure at the age of 64.

"He was a beautiful person," said long-time friend Gina Mendoza. "We had a chance to say our final goodbyes the day before he died."

Miranda served in the Arizona House from 2003 through 2010. His's wife, Catherine Miranda, now holds the seat.

Before Miranda served in the House, he served in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star.

The beloved activist and attorney will best be remembered for being a champion of education, his generous nature and kind spirit.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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