Briefline

Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean dies at 55

By: - October 30, 2022 1:18 pm
Hugh McKean

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean bows his head for a moment of silence as he and others honor the victims of the lives lost in Colorado in 2021 during Gov. Jared Polis’ State of the State address at the Colorado State Capitol building on Jan. 13, 2022. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, a Loveland Republican, has died at the age of 55, the Colorado House GOP caucus announced Sunday morning.

“Today, the Colorado House Republicans sadly mourn the sudden and tragic passing of House Minority Leader Hugh McKean,” the GOP caucus said in a news release. “Hugh was fiercely passionate about two things in his extraordinary life: serving the great state of Colorado and spending time with his family, whom he adored — Aiden McKean, 21, Hanna McKean, 23, and his dearest partner and friend, Amy Parks.”

The Larimer County coroner said in a statement that the cause of death was acute myocardial infarction — a heart attack.

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McKean was first elected to the legislature in 2016 and was elected leader of the House GOP caucus in 2020. He represented House District 51.

He was running for reelection this year. Because he was running unopposed, a committee of Loveland Republicans in the district will select his replacement.

Rep. Hugh McKean
State Rep. Hugh McKean of Loveland was elected to the position of House minority leader on Nov. 9, 2020. (Colorado General Assembly)

Leaders from across the political spectrum in Colorado reacted to the news of McKean’s death on Sunday.

“Dave and I are deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of Leader Hugh McKean. Hugh was a friend, a Republican leader, and a good man who worked for a better life for families all across Colorado,” Colorado Republican Party Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown said in a statement, adding that she will always remember his smile and “positive outlook on life.”

In a statement, Gov. Jared Polis said he was “devastated” to hear of 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,” he said. “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.”

House Speaker Alex Garnett called McKean the “definition of a statesman” who wanted the best for the state.

“His integrity and the deep respect with which he treated every member of the House were a model for every lawmaker he worked with,” he said in a statement.

Funeral service details will be made public once finalized, the House GOP Caucus said.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 12:07 p.m., Oct. 31, 2022, to include the information from the Larimer County coroner.

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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.

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