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Top Colorado Republican Passes Away Unexpectedly; Cause Of Death Revealed

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Colorado State House Minority Leader Hugh McKean died at his home in the early morning, an aide said in an email. The Republican state representative 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.

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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.

“I am devastated to hear of Minority Leader Hugh McKean’s sudden passing. A family man and a true public servant, Minority Leader McKean had a knack for making everyone feel like they were the most important person in the room. Minority Leader McKean cared deeply for his constituents, always had time for a conversation or a laugh, and truly worked every day to build a better future for every Coloradan. As a dad myself, I can’t imagine the pain his children and family are feeling at this difficult time. We are sending thoughts and prayers to all of Hugh’s loved ones and take comfort knowing his legacy will be felt in Colorado for years to come,” Gov. Jared Polis said.

“Emily and I are shocked and heartbroken by the passing of Minority Leader Hugh McKean. We will miss his kindness, the joy that he brought to the capitol every day, and the care that he showed every person he ever met. Hugh was the very definition of a statesman– a genuinely nice guy who always wanted the best for our state and his constituents. His integrity and the deep respect with which he treated every member of the House were a model for every lawmaker he worked with. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Democratic Caucus are with Leader McKean’s family and loved ones,” House Speaker Alec Garnett said in a statement.

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“Heather and I join our entire caucus and every Coloradan in mourning the sudden passing of my friend and colleague Leader McKean. Hugh worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents and cared deeply about our state and our future. In our roles as Majority and Minority Leader, we worked closely together every day, with a shared commitment to doing the people’s work. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, his loved ones, and the House Republican Caucus,” House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar

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.”

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