03/29/2013 08:02 EDT | Updated 05/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Former Vancouver mayor Art Phillips dead at 82

Former Vancouver mayor Art Phillips died Friday afternoon at the age of 82.

Phillips died at Vancouver General Hospital as a result of complications from an infection.

He leaves behind his wife and SFU chancellor Carole Taylor, six children, numerous grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

"With today’s passing of Art Phillips, Vancouver has lost a visionary leader and citizen who made an indelible mark on the city," Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a written release.

"He helped shape Vancouver through his vision and commitment to public service. He was a champion of livability and inclusivity. During his time in office, Art fundamentally changed the political and social direction of our city. He added social housing and parks.

"His leadership and achievements will inspire the city well into the future."

Both B.C. Premier Christy Clark said NDP leader Adrian Dix released statements Friday evening.

"The approach to urban planning he introduced put Vancouver on a path towards becoming a more liveable, vibrant and sustainable city," Dix said.

Clark called Phillips one of Vancouver's "greatest city-builders."

"A gentleman in every sense of the word, Art was concerned with improving the quality of life in Vancouver. We who are lucky enough to call Vancouver home owe him a great debt," she said.

Phillips was mayor from 1972 to 1977. During his time in office, the city turned Granville Mall into a car-free zone. Phillips is known for ending the controversial plan to have freeways run through the city.

He is also credited for transforming False Creek into a residential community. He and his wife moved into the neighbourhood shortly after they were married.

"Much of what [the city] is today is because of the foundation that was laid down and what Art Phillips set in motion," said Gordon Price, a former city councillor.

"False Creek was a industrial sewer and when Art Phillips and Carole Taylor made the decision to move to Leg-in-Boot Square, they established for at least a segment of the city that this was a legitimate, a good place to live. You could raise a family there."

Phillips publicly defended the city's safe injection sites against federal interference. He also led "Save the Grizzlies", a campaign to keep the NBA team in the city.

He was a founder of the Vancouver investment firm Phillips, Hager & North.

A celebration of his life is being planned for April.