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Updated: Bill Wright dies of heart failure in Florida
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - People across West Michigan are sharing their thoughts and memories on the passing of Bill Wright.
According to friends, the Kalamazoo businessman and head of the organization Wright for Kids died of heart failure in Florida on Saturday.
On Monday Newschannel 3 obtained a copy of the investigation report from the Lee County Sheriffs Office.
That report says that a family friend asked a deputy to perform a welfare check on Wright. When deputies arrived, they found Wright was not breathing and began performing CPR. Deputies say Wright was lying in the kitchen area of his Florida condo with his legs outside the open slider door.
Wright was transported to Health Park Hospital where he later died.
Wright was widely known as the pitch man for Seeyle-Wright Automotive Group seen on TV commercials and billboards all around West Michigan.
But the 54-year-old made a bigger contribution with his foundation Wright for Kids, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the community healing centers, helping out abused and neglected children.
He was at the forefront of Roof Sit and the annual Rock Fest downtown.
For many, his legacy will always be helping families. Just before Christmas, after hearing about a Battle Creek family who had their Christmas present stolen, he went on a shopping spree, spending his own money to replace them all.
"He loved life and loved kids more than anything," said Deborah Droppers of Wright for Kids.
Wright was always open about his abusive childhood and struggle with demons as an adult. He recently sold his shares of the automotive group and told friends he knew this would be a tough transition.
"He said, 'the next six months will tell,' and it gives me shivers to think about it now but he said, 'Sally I'll either be dead or I'll know who I am' and I 'said Bill come on,' and he said, 'no my life has changed now. I'm no longer Seeyle Wright and I'm Wright for Kids and I've got to find out who I am,'" said Sally Reames of Community Healing Centers.
His friends tell us Wright was just weeks away from launching a new campaign on TV and billboards challenging you to pay it forward for the kids.
Newschannel 3 has learned that family and friends will be meeting on Monday to discuss funeral arrangements. When there is more information about those plans, we will pass them along.