Miguel Contreras, a labor leader and member of the City of Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, died of an apparent heart attack at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Inglewood Friday, May 6th. He was 52.

Contreras, a Los Angeles resident, was elected executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, in May 1996.

“From the time he was 17, Miguel Contreras dedicated himself to improving the lives of working men and women in California and across North America,” says the County Federation of Labor Web site, www.launion aflcio.org.

Charles Lester has been appointed interim secretary-treasurer of the County Federation of Labor, according to federation president Ric Icaza.

Contreras was appointed to the seven-member Board of Airport Commissioners in March 2003 by Mayor James Hahn.

Contreras had previously served as an airport commissioner from July 1998 to June 2001 under former mayor Richard Riordan.

The news of Contreras’s sudden death shocked many colleagues who said he appeared to be in good physical condition.

“This is a sad hour in the life of Los Angeles,” said Cheryl Petersen, president of the Board of Airport Commissioners. “We are stunned by the sudden loss of one of our city and nation’s finest leaders.

“Miguel Contreras served with distinction on the Board of Airport Commissioners for more than five years.

“He played a pivotal role in advancing the airport’s modernization. He was respected for his integrity and admired for his dedication to improving the lives of working men and women.”

Contreras had also served on the boards of the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, United Way, Help America Vote Act and the Narcotic Addicts Evaluation Authority.

He is survived by his wife, Maria Elena Durazo, and two sons, Michael and Mario.