Maine Republican Rep. Jeffrey Gifford died Sunday at the age of 75.

Gifford’s death makes him the fourth sitting lawmaker to die in Maine this year, leading to concerns over the health of the state’s elected officials.

A dedicated public servant

The state representative had served five terms in his role and was unopposed in the recent state primary.

“Gifford was the fourth sitting state lawmaker to die this calendar year. Representatives Donna Doore, D-Augusta, and John Tuttle Jr., D-Sanford, died four days apart in late January. Rep. Theodore “Ted” Kryzak Jr., R-Acton, died in March,” the Press-Herald reported.

“Representative Gifford was a dedicated public servant,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement, according to the outlet.

“A hard-working man and longtime football coach, he loved his community and the good people he proudly represented in the Legislature. I am saddened to learn of his passing and extend my condolences to his wife, Irene, and his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,” Mills added.

“We will miss him”

House Speaker Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) and House Minority Leader Kathleen Dillingham (R-Oxford) released the following statements honoring his memory, according to WABI-TV:

“Today, we honor the life and service of Representative Gifford,” said Speaker Ryan Fecteau.

“He was dedicated to his family and to serving his community. It was in his nature to step up when he was needed. He was an active member of the Lincoln Town Council and a local football coach for decades. He felt it was important to serve the Lincoln area in Augusta. I know he was a loving husband and a very proud dad, grandfather and great-grandfather. We will miss him in the Maine Legislature.”

Gifford’s death represents a huge loss for his community and the people of Maine who have long known him for his leadership and public service.

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