News of his death was announced in a statement from the office of Democratic Assemblywoman Norma Torres, who now represents Ayala's home region. A Torres spokeswoman said Ayala had been battling a prolonged illness.
Ayala, a former mayor of Chino and member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, was first elected to the upper house in a1974 special election, according to JoinCalifornia.com. He went on to win six full terms in Senate before stepping down in the late 90s due to term limits.
The longtime Chino resident authored 1980 legislation that proposed building a peripheral canal to transport water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The measure, Senate Bill 200, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown but voters blocked it in a 1982 referendum.
Torres said in a statement that Ayala's "passion for our community and public service inspired us to build a better future for our children."
"If you ever had the chance to meet and speak to the Senator, you would've seen his passion for his family and the community he served," she said.
Read the obituary published by the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin at this link.
PHOTO CREDIT: California state Senators Ruben Ayala, D-Chino, left, and Quintin Kopp, I-San Francisco, listen during a joint legislative committee on allegations of mistreatment of inmates at Corcoran State Prison at the Capitol in Sacramento, on Wednesday Oct. 21, 1998. (AP Photo/ Bob Galbraith).