Former Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett dies after battle with cancer

Jeff Triplett, who served as mayor of Sanford for nearly a decade, has died.

Triplett, 52, was mayor during the high-profile shooting of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial of Martin's killer, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was later acquitted. Triplett met with leaders in Sanford’s Black community on numerous occasions during the tumultuous time for the city.

Triplett also served during a period of tremendous growth and redevelopment of Historic Downtown Sanford, including the Riverwalk Expansion and the introduction of a free trolley service connecting the Sanford SunRail station to First Street.

"The City of Sanford is saddened by the news of the passing of former Mayor Jeff Triplett Saturday morning," said Sanford spokesperson Jennifer J. Brooks. "He led the City with compassion through difficult times and will be missed by the City and the many organizations he worked with. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers."

Elected mayor in 2011, Triplet resigned in 2020 to run as a no-party affiliation candidate against incumbent Republican David Johnson for Seminole County Property Appraiser. Johnson won re-election in August with approximately 61% of the vote.

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"Not only did he lead his city throughout some of the hardest challenges in its recent history, he stuck out his own neck in his final political campaign by running NPA in a partisan race as a stunning rebuke to our nation's duopoly system," read a Facebook post by the Libertarian Party of Seminole County. "Rest in power, Mr. Mayor," it concludes.

The Orlando Sentinel reports the cause of death as cancer. Triplett's brother reportedly announced the passing on social media, adding that the family would be holding a private funeral.  The family also asked that in lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society in Triplett's name.

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