Joe Bee Xiong Dead

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A well-known spokesperson for Eau Claire’s Hmong community is dead.

Joe Bee Xiong died Saturday while visiting his home country of Laos.

Xiong’s daughter, Cara Yang, says he had heart problems, which likely caused his death on March 31st. He was 45-years-old.

Yang says her father was a man with a big heart who always tried to help his community in any way he could.

Xiong came to Eau Claire as a refugee in 1980 and became an advocate for Hmong relations in the community.

He was a reserve officer for the Eau Claire Police Department for some time, and also acted as the Executive Director of the city’s Hmong Mutual Assistance Association.

But his leadership didn’t stop there. Xiong served on the Eau Claire City Council from 1996 to 2000, making him the first Hmong person to be elected to public office in Wisconsin.

Xiong also ran against Republican Terry Moulton for the 68th Assembly District seat in 2004.

"I think that he will be enormously missed,” Yang said. “Eau Claire has lost a great leader, a great role model.”

Xiong’s family has set-up a memorial fund at RCU to help cover the cost of returning his body from Laos to the United States.

You can drop money off at any RCU location, simply make any checks out to “Joe Bee Xiong Memorial Fund”.

Xiong was in Laos to help his mother, who’s suffering from kidney failure. His family hopes to have his body back in the states by the end of this week.