Former Miami-Dade Police Director Robert Parker was found dead in his home on Wednesday, officials said.
Family members tell NBC 6 that Parker died by suicide. Miami-Dade Police said the medical examiner confirmed the cause of death was suicide.
"The Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) is saddened to announce that it is investigating the death of former MDPD Police Director Robert Parker," a press release from the department said.
Police provided no other information and said the investigation is in its preliminary stages.
"We thank the Miami-Dade Police Department and the community for all their support at this difficult time. Words cannot express the sadness my family feels from losing such a strong, compassionate and God-fearing man," the Parker family said in a statement. "What little relief we feel, comes from remembering that he spent his life in service to his community and from realizing that we are not alone; that we are surrounded and supported by the people he loved and cherished the most."
Parker spent 33 years with the Miami-Dade Police Department, according to his work bio at Hillard Heintze, a security management company where Parker worked on the Senior Leadership Council team. During his tenure, Parker served as assistant director of police services, division chief for north operations, and was a member of the Special Investigations Unit.
He rose through the ranks and was named Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department in 2004. He was the first African-American director in the department's history.
In 2009, Parker retired on the same day County Manager Carlos Alvarez announced pay cuts from the most non-union county employees. The former police director walked away with a $400,000 retirement check and an annual pension raise instead of staying and taking a salary decrease.
The Army veteran is survived by his wife, who is a former Master Sergeant with MDPD, according to her Facebook page, as well as a daughter who is a police officer, two sons and two grandchildren.
SUICIDE PREVENTION: If you know someone who needs help, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Many are taking to social media to offer their condolences to Parker's family and friends.
Saddened to confirm that we are investigating the death of former MDPD Director Robert Parker. Please keep the Parker family in your prayers — Miami-Dade Police (@MiamiDadePD) July 23, 2015