Stewart was 63.
"The Spalding County Sheriff's Department regrets to announce Sheriff James Dewitt "Dee" Stewart passed away Sunday, July 3 at 4:09 a.m., as a result of injuries he received in an accident June 23," said Spalding County Sheriff's Office Major Wendell Beam.
Stewart had been hospitalized at Atlanta Medical Center since suffering head trauma in a two-vehicle accident on June 23 at Georgia Highway 3 and Moose Lodge Road.
The Sheriff was subsequently airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center where he remained in critical condition, as well as a medically-induced coma, through this weekend.
"We wish to thank everyone for their prayers and concern during this time and for their continued support for the Stewart family during this time," said Beam.
First elected Spalding County Sheriff in 2000, Stewart won re-election bids in 2004 and 2008 in a law enforcement career that spanned four decades.
He was known at the courthouse for his down-home ways where he would oftentimes keep potential jury pools informed himself.
Folks could also readily approach him Monday through Friday at Louise's Cafeteria.
"He was kind of like part of the family," said Laura Stephens, the General Manager at Louise's Cafeteria. "He'd come in here five days a week to eat breakfast, dinner and super.
"He was never in a bad mood," added Stephens. "He was always kidding around and joking. He was just always a good guy. You'd think with the stresses of being a sheriff, he'd be in a bad mood occasionally. He never was — he was always sweet."
Scores of people in the area also had a chance to meet Stewart and get to know him during Halloween when he would — much to his delight — pull up in his pickup truck filled with bags of candy he purchased out of his own pocket and hand out 100s of bags of candy to children each year.
"The story is if you have been in Spalding County 15 minutes you have a Dee Stewart story," said Dave Phillips, owner of David's Guns and Guys Stuff as well as a SCSO reserve deputy who was at Stewart's side with four other deputies when he passed. "He was like John Wayne -- bigger than life."
Close family members were also at the hospital.
"Apparently he had problems with his blood pressure early this morning," said WKEU Station Director Bill Taylor.
Survivors include his wife, Janice R. Stewart; son, Jay Stewart; daughter, Hope Stewart; stepsons, Joey and Jennifer Anderson of Villa Rica, Darren and Shelby Anderson of Douglasville; sister-in-law, Cheryl Stewart of Martinez; 11 step grandchildren; several nieces and nephews.
Conner-Westbury Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements. Funeral services for Sheriff Stewart will be conducted on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at noon at Second Baptist Church, 501 W. Broad Street, Griffin. Dr. David Hill will officiate. Interment will follow in the 1st Baptist Church Cemetery, Sunny Side, Ga.
Sheriff Stewart will lie-in-state from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Wednesday at Second Baptist Church. Friends may visit the family on Wednesday evening from 6-9 p.m., at the church.
Sheriff Stewart will be taken to the church Thursday morning at 9 a.m., to lie-in-state until the funeral hour. Casual dress is suggested.
Those desiring may make contributions to the American Diabetes Association, 1707 North Beauregard St. Alexandria, VA 22311 or to American Heart Association, 1101 Northchase Parkway, Suite 1, Marietta, GA 30067, www.americanheart.org in memory of Sheriff Stewart.