Kadima MK and former minister Ze’ev Boim died at a Milwaukee hospital on Friday following a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67.

Boim left Israel two months ago in order to be treated by Milwaukee surgeon Douglas Evans, who is an expert on Boim’s disease. But his condition deteriorated over the past week and he passed away in the company of his wife Edna and his sister.

A state funeral is expected on Monday in Boim’s native Binyamina after his body returns to Israel on Sunday.

Boim served in the Knesset since 1996 following a career as a school principal in Mexico and in Kiryat Gat and 13 years as mayor of the Negev development town. Boim was credited with advancing the town by luring Intel to build a factory, absorbing thousands of Russian immigrants, and with the Jewish Agency’s twinning of Kiryat Gat and Chicago in its Partnership 2000 program.

Following a stint as Likud faction chairman, Boim left for Kadima along with future prime minister Ehud Olmert, who was Boim’s political patron and childhood friend. He served as deputy defense minister and minister of agriculture, immigrant absorption, construction and housing.

Knesset members from across the political spectrum released statements praising Boim and mourning his loss. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called him one of the best MKs and credited him with advancing education, values and love of the land and people of Israel.

“Ze’evik always represented the values which Zionism was founded upon,” Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said. “He loved this country and its people. He was a man with a conscience and was always honest. The State of Israel has lost one of its best sons and leaders today. Kadima is proud Boim chose to represent it during his lifetime. He will be missed as a friend, as a colleague and as an exemplary individual. May his memory be blessed.”

Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin praised Boim’s “heroism” in fighting cancer. Boim is survived by his wife, three daughters and seven grandchildren.

He will be replaced in the Knesset by former Sayeret Matkal paratrooper unit commander Doron Avital, who is currently a partner in a venture capital firm. Avital holds a PhD in logic and philosophy from Columbia University, where he taught logic and analytic philosophy.

At Tel Aviv University, Avital headed the Georges Leven High-Tech Management School and later established and directed the BRM Institute of technology and society at the Faculty of Management, where he continues to contribute as a senior research fellow.

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