CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Longtime Charlotte attorney Bill Diehl died Thursday morning. He died from complications due to a stroke at age 78.

Diehl’s firm, James, McElroy & Diehl, issued a statement Friday night about their founder’s death.

“James, McElroy & Diehl mourns the loss of one of the firm’s founders, Bill Diehl. For those not fortunate enough to have known him, Bill was the larger-than-life leader of the firm throughout most of its history. He was a legal legend, a scholar of the law, and zealous advocate for each and every one of his clients. He set the bar for litigation excellence throughout North Carolina. His life’s work created a law firm that continues on in his absence but always in his spirit. Outside the courtroom, he was a generous law partner, mentor, and friend with a charismatic personality and brilliant sense of humor. Bill was a force of nature, and his loss will be deeply felt at the firm, and by all who knew and loved him.”

James, McElroy & Diehl, P.A.

After coming to the Queen City in the 1970s, Diehl represented some of Charlotte’s top athletes and personalities like Rick Hendrick, Rae Carruth, and John Isley. He represented former Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn against sexual assault claims in a 1999 civil trial.

He represented David Wesley after Wesley and late star Bobby Phills raced outside the old Charlotte Coliseum down Tyvola Road. Phills lost control of his Porsche and hit a light pole, dying in the wreck. According to the Associated Press, Wesley was convicted of reckless driving but served a 30-day suspended sentence in the incident.