Robert Correia, a longtime member of the Massachusetts Legislature and later the mayor of Fall River, died Friday at the age of 82. Friends said Correia died of heart failure.

Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan said in a Facebook post on Saturday that "Correia's many years of dedicated service to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Fall River have left a lasting legacy. He was a very good friend. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Correia Family at this very difficult time."

Correia was a formidable figure in Fall River politics for more than 30 years. After earning his master's degree in education from Bridgewater State University, Correia taught in Fall River Public Schools.

Get our free mobile app

He ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature in 1974 and 1976, but won a special election in 1977 following the death of State Representative Matthew Kuss.

During his tenure in the House, Correia served as House Majority Whip for six years under Speaker George Keverian. Correia was also the author of several important bills, pushing for the issuance of a $10 million bond bill to pay for repairs to the hull of the U.S.S. Massachusetts, and lobbying state officials to locate a Heritage State Park in Fall River. The walkway at the park was dedicated in Correia's honor in 2018.

In 2007 Correia left the State House to run for mayor of Fall River. He defeated fellow State Rep. David Sullivan to win the mayor's race, and served one term in Government Center. He was defeated in his bid for re-election in 2009, finishing third in a six-person field in the primary election.

LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.