Published: Sep 08, 2011 5:48 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Republican Party Chairman David Bitner is dead at the age of 62.
    
Party officials said that Bitner died Thursday after a brief battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.
    
A Maryland native who moved to Florida in 1967, Bitner announced just eight days ago that he was planning to retire from the position as party chair on Sept. 23.
    
The former state representative from Port Charlotte learned in April that he had ALS, an incurable disease that progressively attacks the brain and spine and leads to complete paralysis. Bitner said at the time he announced his diagnosis that he would carry out his duties as long as he could.
    
There were no details immediately available on funeral arrangements.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)