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The Honorable Mel Sembler, a member of Moffitt Cancer Center’s national Board of Advisors, died Oct. 31 at the age of 93 from lung cancer.

Sembler was known as a legendary real estate developer who founded The Sembler Company in 1962. His business savvy built one of the most accomplished full-service real estate firms in the industry.

In addition to building The Sembler Company, he served his country as United States ambassador to Italy from 2001 to 2005 and as U.S. ambassador to Australia and Nauru from 1989 to 1993. As the president’s personal representative, he actively promoted the nation’s interests abroad during his two terms of service.

A passionate civic and political activist, Sembler’s counsel and opinions were regularly sought on the world stage. He played a leadership role in several presidential fundraising campaigns, including serving as finance co-chairman of The American Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural.

Sembler was a good friend to Moffitt Cancer Center, joining its Board of Advisors in October 2005 and generously supporting many of its activities over the years, including the Magnolia Ball.

Mel will be remembered for his warmth, caring, generosity and persistence,” said H. Lee Moffitt, founder of Moffitt Cancer Center. “In so many diverse ways, he touched and improved thousands of lives around the world. He even found the time to lend his support as an advisor to Moffitt in its mission to fight cancer — and, in doing so, made a difference. He will be missed.”

Former U.S. Senator Connie Mack recruited Sembler to the Moffitt board. “We were so fortunate to have Mel as part of the Moffitt team,” said Mack, former chair of Moffitt’s Board of Directors and a current member of its Board of Advisors. “He dedicated his life in service to others. He was a great ambassador to Italy, Australia and Nauru, and was certainly a great ambassador for Moffitt Cancer Center.”