Jim Preis, a Southern California lawyer and activist who for decades fought for the rights of the mentally ill and disabled, has died.

The Los Angeles Times , quoting his daughter, reports Preis died on Friday at age 66. No cause was given.

As head of the LA nonprofit Mental Health Advocacy Services for 40 years, Preis defended the rights of the mentally ill in court. He co-wrote the textbook “The Essentials of California Mental Health Law” and lectured on the topic.

His daughter, Annie Preis, says her father was driven by his belief that everyone “should be fighting for people who need advocates.”

He and colleague Sherrill Martin developed a system that made it easier for the mentally ill to receive disability benefits. It was eventually adopted by LA County.

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Source: The Associated Press

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