TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Republican Party Chairman David Bitner died Thursday at his Monticello home, two weeks before he was set to step down as the state GOP boss. He was 62.

Officials at the state Republican Party headquarters announced Bitner’s death from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Bitner was diagnosed with the disease in April and at that time said he would carry out his duties as long as he could. Eight days ago he said he would step down from his position as the party chairman on Sept. 23 during the high-profile Presidency 5 event in Orlando that will feature a Fox News debate among Republican presidential candidates as well as a straw poll among party activists.

Tributes poured in from Republicans around the state, as well as Bitner’s counterpart with the Democratic Party, former state Sen. Rod Smith.

“Chairman Bitner was a tireless advocate for the people of Florida and the state and party he dearly loved,” Smith said.

Bitner was born in Maryland and raised on a farm before moving to Florida in 1967.