HELENA, Mont. — Embattled Lewis and Clark County Coroner M.E. “Mickey” Nelson has died after a cancer diagnosis. He was 71.

Nelson died Sunday night at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena due to complications of cancer, K & L Mortuaries & Crematory in Whitehall said in a statement Monday.

Nelson had served as coroner for 42 years.

He was recently criticized for being behind on updating death certificates in cases where the initial cause of death was listed as “pending.” In some cases, final certificates were needed to settle estates and apply for life insurance payments. Former employees also complained about a lack of organization in his office.

The county removed staff members from his supervision in late July over allegations that they were being subjected to a hostile work environment due to derogatory, discriminatory, sexually inappropriate and racially insensitive comments. Nelson said staff members never complained to him.

Nelson is survived by his wife, his son and daughter and six grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.