RALEIGH, NC (WNCN/AP) - Former U.S. Senator Kay Hagan died at the age of 66 after battling a lengthy illness.
Hagan contracted a tick-borne illness in 2016 which caused brain inflammation that made it difficult for her to speak and walk, according to her husband Chip Hagan.
She had been receiving treatment in Georgia after her diagnosis.
She made a rare public appearance in June in Greensboro at the ribbon cutting of a new air traffic control tower.
The Greensboro Democrat defeated Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008. She lost her seat in 2014 to Republican Thom Tillis.
Hagan also served in the North Carolina Senate from 1999 to 2009.
She was born in Shelby on May 26, 1953.
Governor Roy Cooper released the following statement on the passing of Hagan:
“Kristin and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend Senator Kay Hagan. I’ve known Kay since our days in the legislature together. Kay was a fierce advocate for North Carolina, and she represented our state with courage and grace her entire career. She made it a mission to inspire young people - especially young girls - to enter public service, and she served as a role model to so many. North Carolina is mourning one of our best today.”
Senator Thom Tillis issued the following statement:
“Susan and I are absolutely heartbroken by Senator Kay Hagan’s sudden passing and we extend our condolences and prayers to her loving family and many friends. We join all North Carolinians in remembering her dedicated and distinguished record of public service to our state and nation.”
U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) released the following statement after the passing of Hagan:
“My heart goes out to Chip Hagan and the entire Hagan family in the passing of Kay. Sen. Hagan was dedicated to serving North Carolinians and especially to the men and women of the Armed Forces in America’s most military-friendly state. Chip has exemplified the devotion, love and care that every husband should aspire to.”