By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — Former New York State health commissioner Richard Daines has passed away, Mayor Bloomberg announced Monday.
Daines, 60, was on his farm upstate and it is believed that he had a heart attack, Bloomberg added. Daines was found in his barn on Saturday where he had been taking down Christmas decorations, The New York Times reported.
"He wad a really quality guy that I thought really had the public's best interest at heart," Bloomberg told reporters at an unrelated press conference in Brooklyn.
The former commissioner was appointed by ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and served in the position from 2007 through 2010.
He oversaw the failed attempt to institute a soda tax and helped develop a health policy for deal with the 2009 swine flu outbreak in New York.