BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Benton County Sheriff’s Office has announced the death of its former sheriff, Keith Ferguson after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.

According to a post on the department’s Facebook page, Ferguson was born on July 14, 1943 in Clover Bend, Ark. He began his career in law enforcement as an Arkansas State Trooper in 1969.

He then served 32 years as a state trooper before being elected sheriff of Benton County, which he held from Jan. 1, 2003-Dec. 31 2012.

Ferguson died on Nov. 19. The department asks for prayers for his family and friends.