Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, 66, dead following prolonged illness

Written by on October 30, 2019

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, 66, is dead following prolonged illness, her family confirmed Monday.

The former North Carolina senator died at her home in Greensboro of encephalitis, a rare virus spread from ticks to humans that causes brain inflammation.

Her former Senate spokeswoman, Sadie Weiner. said Hagan contracted Powassan virus in 2016 and struggled to walk and speak since that time.

“We already miss her humor and spirit as the hub of our family, a role she loved more than anything. Nobody could light up a room and make people feel welcome like Kay,” her family said in a statement.

Former President Barack Obama commented on her passing, recalling Hagan as someone with a “reasoned, pragmatic voice.”

“She was, quite simply, a terrific public servant — eager to find common ground, willing to rise above the partisan fray, and always focused on making progress for the people she served,” he said in a statement.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently running for president and visited Durham Sunday where he got to see her, said Hagan was instrumental in passing the 2009 Recovery Act, an economic stimulus package, and the Affordable Care Act.

“She was a champion for North Carolina and a fierce defender of all its citizens,” Biden said. “She stood for women’s rights and marriage equality, not because it was politically popular, but because it was right.”

Hagan had a background in politics, but also was in banking and was a stay-at-home mom for a time in her life.

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