UPDATE: Former Izard County Sheriff passes away after stepping down in August

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Update:

The Izard County Sheriff’s Office posted to Facebook this morning that Earnie Blackley has passed away.

Blackley stepped down as the county sheriff back in August to allow him to undergo treatments.

Here is the statement released today by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

“My heart goes out to Sheriff Blackley’s family, friends and the community he tirelessly served,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “He was a dedicated leader of the law enforcement community; serving more than 30 years. Even after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer only months after being elected to serve as Sheriff, he continued to work to keep his county safe. My prayers are with Sheriff Blackley’s family and all of Izard County.”

IZARD COUNTY, Ark. — Step into Earnie Blackley’s office, and some things just might surprise you — like two mounted deer heads, staring down visitors from the back wall.

The current Izard county sheriff goes hunting or fishing whenever he can.

“I live in the neck of the woods where I can just walk out my door and start hunting,” Blackley says.

“If I had to pick fishing or hunting, I’d pick fishing probably.”

But, these days, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis has pressed pause on those hobbies.

“This cancer worked me over pretty heavy,” Blackley says.

Blackley was sworn in January 1.

He gathered with other new sheriffs at the state capitol.

His cancer diagnosis came in May.

Despite the grim news, since then the grandfather of seven bounces back and forth from hospital rooms to his desk.

“I’ve got an obligation, and I’m going to keep it up,” Blackley says.

Word of his illness spread to the county, which held a benefit in his honor this summer.

“I’m overwhelmed by support that I’ve got,” Blackley says.

Facing the battle of his life, emotions run high.

But, Blackley says he wins whichever way this goes.

“I’m happy,” Blackley says.

And those emotions you see, just might surprise you.

You don’t have to cry because you’re sad.”

Blackley has undergone four chemo treatments with two more scheduled. One of them is set for this coming Wednesday.

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