Anchorage, AK -- People around the state of Alaska are mourning the unexpected loss of state senator Chris Birch, who died suddenly of a ruptured aorta Wednesday night.
Birch experienced chest pains shortly after a walk with his wife. In a statement from the Birch family, they said Birch was driven to the Anchorage Fire Department station on O’Malley road and from there was transported to the hospital. As doctors administered tests to determine the cause of the chest pain, Birch went into cardiac arrest and passed away from an an aortic dissection, a torn or ruptured aorta.
Lawmakers from around the state sent messages of condolence.
"As a professional colleague, I marveled at his capacity to do his work with the utmost courage during very difficult times. He was fearless, comfortable in his own skin, and honorable toward everyone. We lost a leader, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.” – Rep. Chuck Kopp (R-Anchorage)
“Allan and I have lost a dear personal friend, and the State of Alaska has lost a great leader.” – Rep. Jennifer Johnston (R-Anchorage)
“Life is short. We all know it, but it’s easy to forget. That simple fact snapped into focus when I learned of Chris Birch’s passing. Above all, I will remember Chris as a family man. His wife, Pam, his children, and his grandchildren are all in my thoughts and prayers. I will also remember Chris’ fierce advocacy as a legislator for what he believed was in the best interests of the people he represented. We’ve lost a true Alaskan statesman.” – House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham)