Tim Lee, former Cobb chairman behind Braves move, has died

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Former Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee has died following a battle with cancer, his family confirmed Sunday afternoon.

Lee was surrounded by his family when he died at Northeast Georgia Medical Center about 1:30 p.m., according to family spokeswoman Kellie Brownlow.

Lee may be best known for bringing SunTrust Park and the Braves to Cobb County by negotiating the public financing deal.

Channel 2's Christian Jennings talked to Brownlow, who worked alongside Lee on the project, about Lee's legacy.

"The Braves will tell you there is no SunTrust Park without Tim Lee," Brownlow said. "He had a vision for this area. He wanted the Cumberland CID area to be a place where people lived and worked and played, and when this opportunity came along, he said this was what he was waiting for."

Brownlow said that last August, Lee was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He went through chemo, radiation and had major surgery and had clean scans through July of this year.

Last month, he found out the cancer had spread.

"He told us the other night he had six months to live," Brownlee said. "It turned out he had six days."

Brownlow sent this statement on behalf of Lee's son, Christian Lee.

“My father died peacefully surrounded by friends and family. He fought his disease with courage and tenacity, but in the end, God had different plans. Our family is humbled by the legacy my dad leaves behind, one that not only includes the Atlanta Braves, an economic juggernaut for the future growth and prosperity of Cobb County, but also one of a man with integrity in his decisions, who fearlessly led and did so with a playfulness and humor for which he will be so missed.

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“As a family, we are devastated. However, we are humbled and comforted by the fact that my dad, also a beloved husband, brother, grandfather, and friend, had such a positive impact on others. Few leave behind a legacy like my father does because it is hard-earned and requires an unwavering dedication to the welfare and betterment of others.”

The Braves released a statement Sunday night mourning his passing.

Lee served as chairman from 2010 until 2016 when he lost reelection. After his defeat, Lee took a job as the director of economic development in Habersham County in 2017.

"He was a great man and my good friend. I was thankful we got together this past Monday night. I owe him a lot personally, but Cobb County owes him a great deal more. His legacy will live on through the Braves and the courage he displayed in getting them to Cobb. My thoughts and prayers are with his family," former Commissioner Bob Weatherford said.

A Cobb County spokesperson said flags at all county-run facilities will fly at half-staff through the former chairman's burial.