Mark Weiner, a major Democratic fundraiser, Hillary Clinton supporter and provider of merchandise to the Democratic National Convention, died Tuesday in Rhode Island.
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Weiner, 62, died in Newport as he prepared to head to the convention in Philadelphia, former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino said. He had wanted to see his longtime friend, former President Bill Clinton, address the convention Tuesday, Paolino told The Providence Journal.
Bill Clinton said during his speech late Tuesday that he and Hillary Clinton cried together upon learning that Weiner had died.
His cause of death wasn't immediately known, but Weiner had been treated for years for leukemia.
He was supposed to be a delegate at this year's convention, but the state party said the delegation recently voted to replace him by his son, Richard, because of his poor health. Weiner's wife, Susan, was also a delegate at this year's convention.
Weiner's company, Financial Innovations Inc., has since 1980 provided the official campaign merchandise for the DNC, such as T-shirts and buttons. The company also provided merchandise and other work for political candidates including Barack Obama's presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012 and for current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He is a longtime friend of the Clintons.
Paolino said Bill Clinton visited Weiner for several hours earlier this month in Newport, where Weiner was staying at Paolino's home.
Paolino told The Providence Journal that Weiner first met Hillary Clinton in 1976, when she was running Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in Indiana and Weiner was her intern. Weiner had been involved in every presidential campaign since then. He also held several leadership roles over the years in Democratic Party organizations.