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Cancer Takes Life of Hospice Pioneer Mary Labyak

The 63 year-old was President and CEO of Suncoast Hospice and was a pioneer in the U.S. hospice movement.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days for 63 year-old hospice pioneer, Mary Labyak, who passed away at her Clearwater home Saturday, Feb. 4. 

"Mary died peacefully in the loving care of a Suncoast Hospice patient and family care team, her family and dear friends," according to a statement released by Suncoast Hospice.

"Mary was a guiding force in end-of-life care and will be greatly missed." 

According to a Suncoast Hospice spokesperson, Labyak died from complications of cancer. 

Labyak was the president and CEO of  and was highly regarded in her field. At the time of her death, she was the chairperson of the National Hospice Foundation Board of Trustees and has been the recipient of many awards.

“Of the many skilled and accomplished leaders in our field, Mary rises to the top for her longstanding commitment to end-of-life care. The numerous innovations she has implemented in her own program make Suncoast Hospice one of the most admired hospices in the country,” said J. Donald Schumacher, President and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Suncoast Hospice was founded 35 years ago by volunteers. The non-profit agency is community based and provides care at three Suncoast Hospice Houses located in Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg. The organization also provides hospice care in private homes, apartments, nursing homes, ALFs and hospitals. According to the Suncoast Hospice website, the organization serves 68 percent of the people who die in its service area.

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