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LeRoy Collins, admiral, killed riding bike

TAMPA, Fla., July 29 (UPI) -- LeRoy Collins Jr., 75, a retired Navy admiral and the son of a former Florida governor, was killed Thursday as he rode his bicycle in Tampa, police said.

Collins, the executive director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs and the son of former Gov. LeRoy Collins, was crossing the street when his bike was hit by a sport utility vehicle driven by Margaux Manuel, 27, who said she did not see Collins, the Tampa Tribune reported.

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Collins unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2006 and last year wrote in his blog that he was considering another attempt, the newspaper said.

Collins wrote in a blog post in January 2009, "Despite my age, I do not see this as the winter of my life ... maybe the fall ... still with a glorious panorama of colorful leaves. With all four of our children within a four-mile radius (along with eight grandchildren) … with me still meaningfully employed on a daily basis ... still able to row (scull) 10 miles in an outing, and swim 1,000 yards without stop and bicycle several miles each way to row ... I am very fortunate. I attribute much of this happiness to our children close by and them involving us on a regular basis in their life experiences ... both good and bad ones."

"He was a true professional," Greg Giordano, state Sen. Mike Fasano's chief legislative assistant, said of Collins's work with veterans. "Senator Fasano and I have worked with him since he was appointed as executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs. His dedication to veterans was second to none. Florida has lost not only a man who served his country, but a man who served his state with distinction."

Collins was married to the former Jane Sisson of Tampa, with whom he has two daughters, two sons and eight grandchildren, the Tribune said.

"Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one," Collins said.

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