ed_jones.jpgENFIELD, N.C. (AP) _ North Carolina state Sen. Ed Jones died Friday at age 62, several months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a family member said.

Jones' daughter, Alesha Garrett, said her father died at 2:20 p.m. at his Halifax County home.

Jones, a Democrat, was a 30-year state trooper, former police chief of Enfield and later its mayor. He served two years in the House before joining the Senate in 2007, succeeding Sen. Robert Holloman, who also died in office. Jones won re-election to another two-year term last month by a comfortable margin over his Republican opponent in the 4th Senate District.

Jones' death means Democratic leaders in five northeastern counties that comprise his district _ Halifax, Vance and Warren counties and parts of Nash and Wilson counties _ will choose his successor to serve his next term through the end of 2014.

Jones was co-chairman of a General Assembly commission that recommended ways to ensure the work of the State Bureau of Investigation's crime laboratory could be trusted following a blistering 2010 review of some of the lab's activities.

Jones “was an advocate for education and a strong voice for the law enforcement community in our state,'' Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue said in a statement. “Most of all, he was a great friend to me and I will always cherish our friendship.''

Jones disclosed publicly last summer his illness, which was diagnosed in the spring. He underwent chemotherapy, and in a June interview said he didn't ask for a prognosis from doctors but wasn't giving up. Senators held a dinner honoring Jones during this year's session. Jones, known for often wearing bow ties, spoke from the Senate floor in the session's final days about working together across party lines.

“He was truly one of the finest people I have ever met, and I will miss him greatly,'' Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said in a release.

Funeral arrangements weren't yet complete Friday. Jones is survived by his wife, Mary; two children and three grandchildren.

The death marked the fourth sitting North Carolina lawmaker since July to die in office. Sen. Don East, R-Surry, died in October.