Cause of death confirmed after sudden passing of Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean

Fellow lawmakers expressed shock and sadness at McKean's unexpected passing.
Published: Oct. 30, 2022 at 12:34 PM MDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2022 at 6:58 AM MDT
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DENVER (KKTV) - Autopsy results have revealed the cause of death for Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, who passed away suddenly over the weekend.

The 55-year-old was found dead in his Loveland home Sunday morning. The Larimer County Coroner’s Office has since determined he died from a heart attack.

McKean was a longtime resident of Loveland. He was first elected to the state House in 2016 and became its minority leader in 2020. His abrupt passing was met with an outpouring of grief from members of both parties, with Gov. Jared Polis, House Speaker Alec Garnett and others releasing statements Sunday.

“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.” - Polis

“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.” - Garnett

“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

McKean’s Senate counterpart, Minority Leader John Cooke:

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rep. Hugh McKean. Hugh was a leader, a friend, and a good man. He never made politics personal, but instead always greeted everyone with a warm smile and an open hand. With his sincere nature and honest approach, he taught everyone what it means to be a statesman. His passion for his family, his community, and the state of Colorado were exemplary. We are praying for his family and offer them our deepest condolences and any support we can give. We will miss Hugh McKean greatly.”

Senate President Steve Fenberg and Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno released a joint statement:

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Minority Leader McKean, who was an incredibly kind man, a loving father, and a dedicated public servant. He had a huge heart and effortlessly used humor to break down barriers for the purpose of advancing constructive problem solving. Hugh led his caucus with courage and conviction, and was a constant advocate for what he believed in. He was a staunch advocate for children with disabilities and his work to engage Colorado’s young people in the political process will continue to serve as an example for us all. We are grateful for Minority Leader McKean’s service and his friendship. The state of Colorado is a better place because of Hugh, and we’re lucky to have had him in our lives. We will be keeping his entire family in our thoughts.”

McKean was up for re-election and running unopposed. The Colorado Secretary of State Office has said a committee established by the Larimer County Republican Party would fill his now-vacant seat.

Funeral services are in the planning stages, and details will be made public once they are finalized.

McKean leaves behind two children ages 21 and 23.