Edward L. Masry, the charismatic attorney and former Thousand Oaks mayor whose battles for the environment and the common man were showcased in the blockbuster movie “Erin Brockovich,” has died, his family said Tuesday. Masry, 73, died late Monday of complications from diabetes at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, said his son, Louis Masry. He had resigned from the City Council just a week ago because of declining health. “My father had a long career of over 40 years as an attorney,” Louis Masry said. “Even prior to the movie ‘Erin Brockovich,’ he was always fighting for the underdog.” Bob Wilson, also a former city mayor, said Masry faced his growing health problems with uncommon strength and dignity. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “I sat next to him for two years on the council, and he never, ever complained about his health, although for any other person it would have probably been a major issue,” Wilson said. “He was a one-of-a-kind and bigger-than-life guy. He loved the city of Thousand Oaks.” Masry and Brockovich, a self-trained legal assistant who worked for him in his Thousand Oaks law office, won a $333 million settlement on behalf of more than 600 residents of Hinkley, Calif., who claimed that Pacific Gas & Electric tanks leaked carcinogenic poisons into groundwater supplies. Their efforts were depicted in the 2000 film “Erin Brockovich,” starring Julia Roberts in the title role and actor Albert Finney as Masry. Brockovich was unavailable to comment at Masry’s law firm and was said to be grieving and distraught. Flush from the notoriety of the movie, Masry was elected to the City Council in November 2000, running as part of a slow-growth slate of candidates, and served a one-year term as mayor in December 2001. Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, who represents the Thousand Oaks area and successfully ran for the council with Masry, said she helped introduce Masry to politics after he offered support in fighting the recall of a council ally. “He really had an incredible willingness to take on challenges, a real seize-the-day kind of attitude. He was a mentor to me – his humor, his no-nonsense approach and his brilliance.” The current mayor, Claudia Bill-de la Pea, called his death “a tremendous loss to our community.” “He was a champion for the residents, a fighter,” she said. “He always stood up for the little guy and would never surrender.” Masry was born July 29, 1932, in Patterson, N.J., and moved with his family to California in 1940. His parents were from Syria and France, and he spoke fluent Arabic and French, as well as English. He went to high school and Valley College in the San Fernando Valley, then served in the Army from 1952-54. He attended the University of California campuses at Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. Although he never received a bachelor’s degree, he was admitted to Loyola Law School and earned a degree there, according to a biography from his law firm, Masry & Vititoe. He started his law practice in Los Angeles in 1961. Masry is survived by his wife, Joette, five children and 10 grandchildren. Funeral services are pending. The Associated Press contributed to this story. Eric Leach, (805) 583-7602 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!