DALLAS, N.C. (AP) — Former North Carolina state Sen. David Hoyle, a powerful force on taxes, economic development and education within state government when Democrats last controlled the General Assembly, died on Wednesday at age 84, his son said.

Hoyle died at his home in the Gaston County seat of Dallas, where he had once elected been mayor in his 20s. His health had been declining since he suffered a stroke several years ago, according to son David Hoyle Jr.

Hoyle served nine terms in the Senate, where he was a longtime co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Hoyle and Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand were considered top lieutenants to then-Senate leader Marc Basnight of Dare County.

Hoyle’s hands were involved in most every major tax and finance effort in North Carolina over a 15-year period.

A Gaston County native, Hoyle graduated from what is now Lenoir-Rhyne University in 1960. He became the Dallas mayor in 1967. He was a longtime real estate investor who served on boards of textile, banking and construction interests. Hoyle served on the state Board of Transportation and later joined the Senate in 1993.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who served briefly with Hoyle in the Senate until 2000, said in a tweet that Hoyle “brought his practical business experience and compassion for the people of his district to the legislature, and North Carolina is a better place for his work.

“His willingness to challenge the status quo plus his warmth and wit made him a strong senator and mayor and a great friend,” Cooper added.

Hoyle announced he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2010, and in September of that year Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue appointed him state revenue secretary, where he served through the remainder of Perdue’s single term. Republicans took over the state House and Senate in 2011.

“David was a champion for the business community and college accessibility,” said current Senate leader Phil Berger, who also served with him in the chamber. Rand and Basnight died in 2020.

In addition to his son, Hoyle’s survivors include his wife, Linda; a daughter, Lonnia Beam; three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Wednesday.