LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Swope Auto Group founder Sam Swope has died, according to a press release from the auto dealership owner's family.

According to a spokesperson for the family, Swope "passed away peacefully at home" Tuesday afternoon. He was 88-years-old.

The local businessman was named the Ad Federation of Louisville's Louisvillian of the Year in 2009. Swope officially retired from the Swope Auto Group, where he was Chairman of the Board, on January 13, 2012. 

Mayor Fischer tweeted his support, saying "Sam Swope was a pillar in Louisville, from his entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen to his compassion for people and animals. We've lost a great citizen and role model, but his legacy and impact will live far into the future."

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell also issued a statement Tuesday evening, expressing his condolences. “I was saddened to hear of the passing of my friend, Sam Swope," McConnell said. "He was a Kentucky legend, and his name is synonymous with quality service. He was a great leader for Louisville and the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky."

Swope's family released a statement Tuesday thanking the community for their support during a 'difficult time'. 

The full statement:

The family of Samuel G. Swope would like to thank the Louisville community for their support during this difficult time as they gather to celebrate Mr. Swope's remarkable life and legacy.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, per Sam's wishes, that a donation be made to support your favorite cause, or one of his:

  • Kosair Charities
  • The Kentucky Humane Society

A Masonic Service will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, followed by the Scottish Rite Funeral Service at 7:00 p.m., Pearson's Funeral Home, 149 Breckenridge Lane, Louisville.

Public visitation is Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 4 to 7 p.m. at Southeast Christian Church, Fellowship Hall 1, 920 Blankenbaker Parkway, Louisville.

Funeral service will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary of Southeast Christian Church, followed by private burial in Cave Hill Cemetery.

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