Former Myrtle Beach mayor John Rhodes dies after battle with COVID-19

A look back at the life and legacy of former Myrtle Beach mayor John Rhodes

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Former Myrtle Beach mayor John Rhodes died Saturday after a battle with COVID-19, according to multiple sources.

The City of Myrtle Beach announced news of his death shortly after noon Sunday.

The City of Myrtle Beach mourns the loss of former Mayor John Rhodes. Our hearts, prayers and thoughts are with his...

Posted by Myrtle Beach City Government on Sunday, January 17, 2021

Rhodes was elected as mayor of Myrtle Beach in 2005 and held the position for 12 years. He lost re-election to current mayor Brenda Bethune in 2017.

During his tenure in office, he and city council were responsible for several projects in the city, including the development of The Market Common and Savannah’s Playground. His time as mayor also saw revitalization to the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

“John Rhodes had nothing but love for this community,” said Bethune in a statement. “He lived his life to make it better and always did so with humor. Myrtle Beach is a better place because of his leadership. John was a long time friend of my family’s and I have nothing but fond memories of him and respect. My heartfelt prayers are with Terri and his entire family.”

In addition to his run in office, Rhodes was also the executive director of the Beach Ball Classic basketball tournament, which just celebrated its 40th-anniversary last month.

“There are no words at the moment, just an unfillable void,” tournament officials said in a statement. “Please keep his family in your prayers.”

Rhodes’ wife mentioned Friday that he had been admitted to the hospital for the coronavirus.

The Horry County Democratic Party also offered its condolences on social media. The Church of the Messiah in Myrtle Beach also announced Rhodes’ death Sunday morning.

The Myrtle Beach Fire Department also offered a statement on Rhodes’ passing, saying that “Mr. Rhodes was very much a friend of the fire service and we appreciate everything he has done over the years.”

“Very sad news today for our community,” tweeted Coastal Carolina University President Dr. Michael T. Benson. “Grateful for Mayor Rhodes’ years of service and so pleased that he was recognized for all he did.”

Rhodes, who also graduated from CCU, received an honorary degree from the university last December.

His death also left an impact on local sports in Myrtle Beach.

The Myrtle Beach High School Boys Basketball team also commented on Rhodes, saying “the void John leaves behind will never be filled.” Carolina Forest High School’s basketball also offered a statement on Twitter, thanking him for inviting the team to play in last year’s Beach Ball Classic.

Coastal Carolina University’s athletic department also tweeted about Rhodes Sunday, saying they are “forever grateful for his advocacy and support of Chanticleer Athletics.”

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans offered their condolences on Twitter, saying that Rhodes was “a strong supporter and friend of the organization.”

Stay with WMBF News for updates.

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