SARASOTA – Sarasota County mourns the loss of Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Blakely, after he lost his battle with lung cancer Sunday.

His friend and coworker, Sergeant Sean Brophy, said Blakely always had a smile on his face.

“Kevin was, and people say this, but he’s that type of personality at times like this where he was larger than life,” Brophy said.

Brophy and Blakely shared a special bond – the place they called home.

“We both were police officers in Massachusetts,” Brophy said, “so when i first met him, it just kinda was like a kindred spirit kinda thing, when we were both deputies.”

Brophy supervised Blakely in the Civil Unit, and he loved getting to work so closely with someone he called his friend.

“He was the kind of guy that would come into the office in the morning, make you laugh, stop by at noon or something to pick up more paperwork, make ya laugh,” Brophy said.

That was a special quality that Blakely shared with his wife, Dee.

“His wife Dee worked with us as well, and they’d both make you laugh, and off they went doing their work,” Brophy said.

Serving the community was in Blakely’s blood.

“His grandfather was a firefighter, his father was a firefighter,” Brophy said. “His brother’s a firefighter, and his sister was a state trooper back home.”

Blakely was a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, and marine sergeant in the Gulf War, but his heroic action didn’t stop there

“He was at the 9/11 scene as a first responder, assisting in protecting federal buildings and protecting the 9/11 scene,” Brophy said. “He did that willingly and was one of the first to volunteer for it.”

Brophy said Blakely was always jumping at a chance to help others.

“He touched the hearts of many,” Brophy said. “In the sheriff’s office, in the community, he was the typical busybody, go-getter, positive attitude type of guy.”

He even had a positive attitude after receiving a heartbreaking diagnosis – stage 4 lung cancer.

“His attitude was incredible. You know he came to work, he was still working for awhile,” Brophy said.

He lost his battle with cancer, but he won the hearts of everyone whose paths he crossed.

“He had many, many friends on the department; he made many friends in the community,” Brophy said. “He was just infectious to be around – just an all around, I mean, a wonderful father, husband and friend.”

Furthermore, he was a fighter.

“Right to the very end, he never gave up,” Brophy said.

Blakely’s funeral will be held Thursday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Instead of flowers, his family is asking that memorial contributions in his name be made to:

The Haven, 4405 Desoto Rd., Sarasota FL, 34235.