LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The former spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe passed away Sunday after a nearly three-year battle with cancer.
Matt DeCample was 44 years old.
DeCample landed in Little Rock nearly 20 years ago as a TV reporter. It led to a job with then-Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe. DeCample followed his boss to the governor’s mansion and worked as Beebe’s press secretary and communications chief during his two terms.
DeCample was diagnosed with cancer at 41. He started treatment at the Rockefeller Cancer Institute, which Gov. Beebe helped secure the funding for. DeCample also spent a lot of time there throughout the construction process while serving in Beebe’s administration.
In September of 2017, DeCample was invited to a CNN forum on health care policy that featured a handful of US Senators. He asked a question that Sen. Bernie Sanders answered. Days later, he talked about that forum and the larger debate over health care policy in an interview with Jessi Turnure on “Capitol View”. You can see the full interview segment in the video above.
DeCample documented his journey the past three years on his blog, Mattie D. vs. the Evil C, fighting cancer with one of his greatest gifts: humor.
DeCample was recently admitted to a clinical trial in Maryland at the National Institute of Health. In his last blog post, DeCample wrote, “Here I lie reclined on the frontier of yet another Undiscovered Cancer Country. Even more than usual, no one knows what comes next. I’ll just keep betting with house money until the next thing happens.”
In a statement, Beebe said, “We were lucky to have known him. We will not see his like again.”
“Matt had the rare combination of an incredibly quick mind and a depth of knowledge that was truly astounding. I’ve always said that he was Google before Google.
He was a music aficionado, a movie buff, a world of information. He was a diplomat (with the press corps and everyone else), he was kind to each and every one, extremely witty, and had more friends than anyone I know. And, yet, he was also a private man. After receiving his devastating cancer diagnosis, he never complained, he never stopped moving forward, continuing to perform improv up to the very last week of his life.
He was calm and extremely honest and his credibility was unquestioned.
We were lucky to have known him. We will not see his like again.”
Many in the Arkansas community took to social media to remember DeCample:
Arkansas is home to some incredible people, but we learned today that one of them was no longer with us. We send our heartfelt blessings to the friends and family of Matt DeCample during this trying time. #arpx https://t.co/GT09NaOcGn— Arkansas GOP (@ARGOP) March 4, 2019
Matt DeCample was truly one in a million, & he had the unique ability to make you feel the same way about yourself. He was thoughtful, talented, smart, & funny—w/ a smile that always put you at ease. I’ll never forget his kindness or the advice he shared w/ me 4 yrs ago.— J.R. Davis (@JR__Davis) March 4, 2019
My deepest condolences to the family and close friends of Matt DeCample. Like so many others I knew him to be a kind and amazing person. Full of humor and spirit. I believe in God and heaven, and that Matt is there now making the angels laugh. On earth, let’s carry-on his love.— Davy Carter (@DavyCarter) March 4, 2019
Heartbroken to lose sweet friend Matt @DeCample. Such a great guy that was so good to everyone. The last time he was on our show he brought his parents who were in town. They were so so proud of him. Praying for them ❤️ pic.twitter.com/yW1Gg3FMQG— Mallory Brooks (@MalloryHBrooks) March 4, 2019
The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute today mourns the loss of Matt DeCample. Matt served as our Under 40 Forum moderator, collaborated with us on our programs and performed here with his talented ImprovLittleRock. Matt was enormously talented and seriously funny. We will miss him. https://t.co/gu4kEdUOjO— Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (@Rockefeller) March 4, 2019
Rest In Peace, Matt. You definitely made this world a better place by being in it. 💔— Kathy Webb (@KathyLWebb) March 4, 2019
We’re saddened to hear of the passing of Matt DeCample, former spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe. While I did not know him personally, several members of my staff did and I’m told he was a genuine and honest person to work with. May he rest in peace. #cancersucks— AR Treasurer (@ARTreasurer) March 4, 2019
We will continue to update this story with tributes.