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CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) _ Southern Illinois University says that Interim Chancellor Paul Sarvela has died.

SIU President Randy Dunn told faculty, staff and students in an email that Sarvela died Sunday evening.

Sarvela had been appointed as interim chancellor at the Carbondale campus this past summer after former Chancellor Rita Cheng left to become president of Northern Arizona University.

Sarvela’s cause of death was not confirmed. He recently was diagnosed with cancer, but had spoken optimistically of his diagnosis.

Dunn says Sarvela’s character was one of his greatest strengths, saying his “friendship and compassion for those around him” would be missed the most.

Sarvela worked at SIU for 28 years, including as a faculty member, dean and associate vice president before being named interim chancellor.

Funeral arrangements and services are pending.