DENVER | Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, known for his warm personality, wicked sense of humor and for reaching across the aisle to build legislative consensus, has died. He was 55.
McKean was found dead in his Loveland home Sunday morning after complaining of feeling unwell the day before, Roger Hudson, deputy chief of staff of the Colorado House GOP caucus, told The Colorado Sun. The cause and manner of death have not been released.
McKean entered politics in 2009 when he was elected to the Loveland City Council. He was elected to the state legislature in 2016 and spent the last two years as minority leader trying to unite the GOP caucus and win back a majority in the chamber, according the The Sun.
“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,” Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown said in a statement.
Hudson told The Sun that McKean had been busy trying to grow the House GOP’s ranks in the upcoming election and to form a policy platform for the next legislative session, all while building a new home.
“He was doing all these things at the exact same time, so I expressed some concern,” Hudson said. “Hugh was — I hate using the past tense — had the most wicked sense of humor. If there was a way to take a bad situation and make it dark humor, Hugh found it. It made everybody just find the light in everything. I adored this man. His loss is something I can’t even quantity for you.”
A vacancy committee made up of Republicans in his Loveland-based House District 51 will select a replacement for McKean, who was unopposed in the general election.
McKean is survived by his children — Aiden McKean, 21 and Hanna McKean, 23 — and his longtime partner, Amy Parks.