Texas Commissioner of Insurance David Mattax died Thursday after a battle with cancer, the governor announced.
Mattax, 60, was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015.
The two men had a long history together, as Mattax had been a deputy to Abbott when the governor was attorney general.
Mattax worked at the department for 23 years before being appointed as insurance commissioner, a role where he oversaw regulation of the state’s insurance industry toward protecting consumers.
Abbott issued a statement in which he and his wife both expressed their condolences.
“Today, Cecilia and I mourn the loss of a friend, colleague, and distinguished public servant,” Abbott said.
“Commissioner David Mattax truly dedicated his life and career to the State of Texas. A brilliant lawyer whose loyalty to Texas never wavered, David was a doting son and brother who took great pride in mentoring young lawyers who would become the leaders of tomorrow.”
David’s brilliance, wit, and wisdom will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
Cecilia and I extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the Mattax family.”
Before joining TDI, Mattax spent 23 years in a variety of capacities at the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
He began representing the Texas Department of Insurance as its attorney in 1992, and his tenure included working with eight different insurance commissioners on receiverships, ERISA cases, rule-making, enforcement actions, and other legal issues.
Mattax also represented the state banking and securities departments and other state agencies.
In his last position as Deputy Attorney General for Defense Litigation, Mattax supervised the defense of all lawsuits filed against the state.
Mattax was a member of the State Bar of Texas and was admitted to practice before the four Texas Federal District courts, Fourth and Fifth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mattax also was a member of the finance committee, past co-chair of the Amos Commission and past board of trustees’ member of University United Methodist Church.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history, bachelor’s of science degree in math, and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.