Superior Mayor Diagnosed With Terminal Illness

Interim Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen Battling Lung Disease

Danielle Kaeding/WPR

Superior’s mayor said he was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. Interim Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen announced he was stepping down in the middle of his term last fall due to health issues and a lack of passion for the job.

Hagen said he was diagnosed with the lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis about six weeks ago.

“After two series of antibiotics being taken from the false read as to having pneumonia,” Hagen said. “I was having very difficult and elongated coughing spells where you can’t control them and lose your ability to function.”

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Superior’s mayor has struggled with health issues in the past, including a minor stroke in 2015. Hagen, 70, said the diagnosis came as a total shock and he’s examining medications to slow the progression of the disease.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is caused by thickness or scarring of tissue in the lungs and prevents proper movement of oxygen into the bloodstream, according to the National Institutes of Health. Those who are diagnosed with the disease typically live around to three to five years.

Hagen said the diagnosis came as a total shock, but the disease will not affect his plans for retirement.

“We’re going to travel,” he said. “We bought a home in Florida and (we’re going to see) kids and grandkids. We’re going to travel extensively at least while I think we can…and selling our house and getting rid of a lot of stuff…and just going to live the life.”

Hagen said he wishes he had retired a long time ago. However, he plans on living life to its fullest and carrying on with a positive attitude.

“My life has been great. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in my travels, had some difficult times and some people I know I probably pissed off. I apologize for that,” he said.

Hagen drew national attention in 2015 after a Facebook comment about former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, in which he wrote: “Unbelievable! She and her Muslim partner have destroyed the fabric of democracy that was so very hard fought for!”

Superior’s mayor later met with local Muslim leaders and apologized, saying the post was a “poor choice of words.”

Hagen said he and his wife, Lois, are planning to head back to Florida, but he said they plan to return to the city in early May after visiting relatives.