06/25/2014 05:03 pm ET Updated Jun 26, 2014

Ex-Mayor Of California Town Kills Wife And Self, Officials Say

The former mayor of a town in California's Bay Area smothered his ailing wife before fatally shooting himself in their Los Angeles home.

The bodies of Corte Madera's ex-mayor Vaso Medigovich, 73, and his wife Meredythe Medigovich, 65, were discovered by one of the couple's daughters and a caretaker on May 29, an LA coroner's spokesman told The Huffington Post.

Meredythe had been afflicted by Alzheimer's disease for years, family members told the Marin Independent Journal.

"We understand and respect our parents' carefully-considered decision as a final act of love for all of us in the face of Meredythe's decade-long battle with Alzheimer's, and as a reflection of their fierce belief in dignity and the right to individual choice in end-of-life care. We love them deeply," a family statement reportedly said. "Their courage and their love for each other is an inspiration to us,"

Their deaths were reported by the Marin Independent Journal today.

Meredythe died from "asphyxia" and the "combined effects of smothering and neck compression," according to Craig Harvey, the medical examiner's spokesman.

Her husband died from "a single gunshot wound to the head," from a .38-caliber Colt revolver, Harvey told HuffPost. A police report about the killing did not indicate who owned the weapon, Harvey said.

Two days before their bodies were found, one of their daughters had spent the day with Meredythe, a family member told The Huffington Post.

Vaso Medigovich's political career began in 1983 in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, when he formed a committee to confront severe flooding that had damaged the area the previous year, according to his obituary.

In 1987, he was elected to Corte Madera's town council and from 1992-93 he was the town's mayor.

The couple moved to the expansive Park La Brea apartment complex in Los Angeles in 2012.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include information provided by a member of the Medigovich family.