Lancaster Mayor John Howard died at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday night at CMC Main in Charlotte after "battling lung cancer," city administrator Flip Hutfles said.
Hutfles said Howard, 67, was "surrounded by his loving family" at the time of his death.
A special election for mayor will be held July 10.
"It's a huge loss to the city," Hutfles said. "No one loved the city of Lancaster more than Mayor Howard."
Howard was elected mayor in February 2016 after the death of former Mayor Joe Shaw in office.
Howard had served on the Lancaster City Council for 33 years before his election as mayor.
"He will be truly missed," Hutfles said.