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Cause of Death Revealed After Colorado Republican Died Unexpectedly

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


The official cause of death has been released for Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, who tragically died over the weekend. An autopsy revealed that the Republican lawmaker officially died from a heart attack.

He served three terms in the Colorado state House as well as the minority leader in 2021 and 2022. Given the elections are less than a week away, a CBS News details what will happen given he was running for re-election:

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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.

“It is with great sadness we announce the sudden passing of House Minority Leader Hugh McKean. Hugh was fiercely passionate about serving the great state of Colorado and will be missed dearly. Funeral services are being planned and details will be made public once finalized,” the Colorado House Republicans official Twitter account posted.

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.”

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.”

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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’s the kind of guy that it didn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, he always knew who you were. He knew who your family was. He would ask you how you’re doing. Just a bubbly, happy guy,” Republican Rep. Colin Larson said of McKean.

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“He talked about his son and daughter constantly, and he was so proud of them. I just hope they know that. I’m honestly still just trying to wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone,” Larson added.

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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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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