(CBrief) – Colorado State House Republicans announced the sudden death of their minority leader Sunday. House Minority Leader Hugh McKean died at his home in the early morning, an aide said in an email. State Rep. McKean was running for a fourth term and his death was described as “tragic and sudden.”

Funeral services are being planned and details will be made public once finalized, according to a statement from Colorado House Republicans. An autopsy was performed by the Larimer County Coroner’s Office, which posted that McKean died of a heart attack.

“On 10/30/2022, the Larimer County Coroner’s Office responded to Loveland, CO to investigate the death of a 55-year-old male. The decedent was identified as Colorado State Representative Hugh McKean of Loveland, CO. Rep. McKean was transported to the Larimer County Coroner’s Office where a forensic autopsy was performed,” the Larimer County Coroner website reported.

CBS News reported what will happen next given he was running for re-election in November’s midterms:

McKean was working on his own re-election but was running unopposed in the District 51 race. Because he was unopposed, McKean will be considered a member-elect of the legislature, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office explained. A vacancy committee will meet within a month of McKean’s death to begin the process of filling his House seat. That vacancy committee will be established by the Larimer County Republican Party in accordance with state statutes.

Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown stated she and her family were “devastated” and deeply saddened by McKean’s sudden death.

“Hugh was a friend, a Republican leader, and a good man who worked for a better life for families all across Colorado,” Burton Brown wrote. “Whenever I saw him or spoke to him, he had an encouraging word and was ready to lift others up. Whenever I think of Hugh McKean, I’ll think of his smile and his positive outlook on life.”

Jeff Hunt, the co-chair of the Western Summit, tweeted: “Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean was a great friend and multi-year winner of the Centennial Institute Faith, Family, and Freedom award. My heart is broken. Colorado lost a principled statesman. I will miss our conversations. My prayers are with his family and staff.”

Dee Dee, a candidate for Colorado State Representative, tweeted: “Today, Colorado lost one of its most passionate advocates, House Minority Leader Hugh McKean. I will remember Hugh for his openness, curiosity, intellect, Rapier sharp wit, and generosity. As Colorado mourns the loss of a great leader, I mourn the loss of a mentor and a friend.”

Rep. Kerry Tipper tweeted: “Hugh often described the House as a family. Today, we are reeling. All I can think of is Hugh’s kids. Your dad loved you with all of his being. He spoke of you often in the chamber. You brought him boundless joy & he was unwaveringly proud of you.”

State Senator Rhonda Fields also spoke highly of McKean, writing on social media: “Today, I grieve the passing of House Minority Leader Hugh McKean. He served the People of Colorado with clarity, leadership, and dedication. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who knew him. May he Rest in Peace.”

He will be missed by colleagues on both sides of the political aisle.

Colorado Democrat Sen. John Hickenlooper tweeted: “Such a tragic loss for our state. Hugh was a tireless advocate for his constituents and was dedicated to improving the lives of all Coloradans. Robin and I send our condolences to his wife, children, and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Colorado House Democrats declared in a statement: “The entire Democratic Caucus is heartbroken by Leader McKean’s passing. He was loving and kind and brought tremendous joy to the Capitol. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his loved ones, and the House GOP.”

The official Twitter account of the Colorado Democratic Party tweeted: “We’re sad and shocked to hear of the passing of House Minority Leader Hugh McKean. The Colorado Democratic Party extends their deepest condolences to Hugh’s family. We will always remember his warmth even in times of disagreement, and honor his commitment to public service.”

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