EAGLE RIVER, Wis. (AP) -

A Vilas County deputy says Sheriff Frank Tomlanovich has died at age 61 after a brief illness.

Sheriff's Capt. Russ Kennedy says Tomlanovich died Thursday morning. He says the sheriff will be remembered as a hard worker and good leader who took excellent care of his troops.

Kennedy says Tomlanovich had been with the sheriff's office since 1979. He was promoted to detective sergeant in 1994 and became sheriff in 2011. Earlier in his career he worked with the Eagle River Police Department.

Kennedy says Tomlanovich had all the qualities of a good law enforcement officer -- he was thorough, fair and honest, and he was a down-to-earth person with a lot of common sense. Kennedy says the sheriff will be greatly missed.

Governor Scott Walker released the following statement after learning of the death of Sheriff Tomlanovich.

"Tonette and I send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Vilas County Sheriff Frank Tomlanovich. Sheriff Tomlanovich dedicated his life to protecting and serving the people of northern Wisconsin. We honor his life of public service and send our thoughts and prayers to all who knew him."