MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Area leaders throughout Myrtle Beach are expressing their grief after South Carolina Hospitality Association President Tom Sponseller was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday morning.
Brad Dead, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce released the following statement on Sponseller's death:
"Our board and staff are saddened to learn of the death of Tom Sponseller. The friends, family and coworkers of Tom Sponseller are in both our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to them during this tragic time.
Tom's dedication to improving and assisting South Carolina's leading industry was evident to those who worked closely with him. We will always remember Tom's hard work, commitment, and the positive impact he had on the South Carolina hospitality and tourism industry."
Minutes later, the president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association, Stephen Greene, released a statement as well:
"On behalf of the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association board and staff we are saddened to hear of the death of Tom Sponseller.
He was a champion of hospitality and tourism and he gave so much to the state of South Carolina and to the industry. His dedication, knowledge and hard work have shaped the future of our industry. He will be greatly missed.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tom's wife, family, friends and SCHA staff during this difficult time.
The Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association is the voice of the Hospitality Industry and a tourism advocate, whose role is to promote the industry's needs, ensure a healthy tourism economy, and educate our membership and the public about industry issues."
The body of Sponseller was located in a garage in the Columbia area Tuesday morning. During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, the Richland County coroner said it appeared as though Sponseller suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The incident remains under investigation by the Columbia Police Department.