DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – A former Macon County law enforcement officer has died after a search for a needed kidney.

Tom Butts’ health became an issue in November 2017, when his kidneys shut down. He went through close to a year of doctor’s visits and, in 2018, began dialysis.

In December 2018, Butts believed he had found a donor in Kathy Burkham, but learned in April 2019 that it couldn’t work. With a waiting list of over 100,000 people in need of a kidney, the search was proving difficult.

On Tuesday night, his life came to an end.

“At 7:42 this evening a good man’s heart stopped beating,” said a family statement posted to Facebook. “We ache with the absence of him already, but we will gain comfort from each other as a family. He had fought a gallant fight to gain back his health with his wife, Sarah, leading the charge. It simply wasn’t to be.”

The Decatur Police Department also issued a statement. 

"The Decatur Police Department is deeply saddened by the loss of Officer Tommy Butts," said Deputy Chief of Police Shane G. Brandel. "Tommy was a special person who was always positive and pleasant to be around. He had a special way with people he interacted with, both personally and professionally. He was a friend to many and a will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tommy’s family during this time."

Butts was a former Decatur police officer and Macon County deputy. He had served for over 25 years.