By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia tourism community is mourning the loss of Jeff Guaracino, the president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia. He passed away Tuesday night after a battle with cancer, but leaves behind a tremendous legacy for the city of Philadelphia.

Tributes are pouring in from all across the Philadelphia region for Jeff Guaracino. The 48-year-old CEO of Visit Philadelphia passed away Tuesday after a battle with cancer. The tourism leader worked passionately to boost Philly’s economy by attracting tourists to the region.

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Even in the midst of a pandemic, he oversaw campaigns to rebuild a struggling hospitality industry.

In a statement, Visit Philadelphia paid tribute to Guaracino, saying in part: “Jeff was a beloved family member, partner and friend as well as a passionate leader, avid traveler, celebrated author, teacher mentor and role model. His fun spirit and strong sense of self were with him until the end.”

Long before taking the helm at Visit Philadelphia, Guaracino began his career at KYW-TW, and our television family is mourning his loss. Guaracino went on to establish a storied career, previously serving as president and CEO of Welcome America, orchestrating events for the annual July 4th celebration. He also served as executive director of the Atlantic City Alliance.

Mayor Jim Kenney offered his condolences, saying: “Jeff had a deep love of his family and colleagues. And he left an indelible mark on the place he was most passionate about — his beloved Philadelphia. A fierce champion and promoter of his hometown, Jeff was a proud advocate for the LGBTQ community.”

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The Philly native was a sought-after writer with two books centering around gay and lesbian tourism, and he also authored a travel column for the Philadelphia Gay News.

Guaracino left a 20-year track record of success in tourism, helping to attract thousands to the Philadelphia region. His passion and gracious spirit will live on.

Guaracino’s work helped transform Philadelphia into an LGBTQ vacation destination.

He most recently resided in Society Hill and was a graduate of Rowan University and Camden County Community College.

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He was 48 years old.