Lawrence Paul, a former chief of Nova Scotia’s Millbrook First Nation, has died at the age of 79.

Born in Saint John, Paul served as chief of the Millbrook First Nation near Truro between 1984 and 2012 after winning 14 consecutive two-year terms.

He passed away in hospital Wednesday evening.

Flags at the Millbrook RCMP detachment and Glooscap Heritage Centre were flown at half-mast on Thursday.

“Lawrence had a great respect for the community and he had a great pride in the community members, right from the youth, right to the elders, everybody in the community, on and off the reserve,” says current Chief Bob Gloade, who served on council with Paul for 12 years.

Paul was known to be a tough negotiator in business and politics, whose first concern was his community.

He is also credited for his economic development work in Millbrook, culminating with the Truro Power Centre along Highway 104.

Paul’s efforts led him to be named one of Atlantic Canada's top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business Magazine.

He also served as a co-chairman of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs.

Paul’s brother believes his drive came from an early life of poverty and discrimination.

“When you live in a society where you’re denied the same treatment that others, the majority, is enjoying then I think somewhere’s along the line you decide well, about time somebody did something about it and I’m going to be one of those people to do my share,” says Dan Paul.

Premier Stephen McNeil expressed his condolences in a statement, calling Paul a tireless and dedicated leader who championed the economic success of his community.

“I know his passing is a great loss for the whole community of Millbrook and the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia,” said McNeil.

“Lawrence Paul’s legacy has left Millbrook stronger and made Nova Scotia a better place.”

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized but Gloade says a wake will likely take place at the community centre this weekend.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh and The Canadian Press