Statement by Rick Erwin, Board Chairman of SCHA

"Our board and staff are profoundly saddened by the announcement of Tom Sponseller's death. I do not have the words to convey the sadness of losing our leader and friend.

Utmost in our hearts and minds are Tom's wife and family, who were his pride and joy. They came first in everything he did. Our prayers are with them in this tragic hour.

Professionally, Tom in many ways was the face of South Carolina's $14 billion tourism industry. He guided our industry through good times and bad, quietly working for the good of every person employed in the industry.

The number of jobs he helped create in South Carolina through his work with the Legislature and many governors cannot be estimated. Suffice it to say South Carolina's economy is stronger, and tourism's future brighter, because of his dedication."