TOPEKA, Kan. — Ailing Republican state Sen. Bud Estes has died, Senate leadership announced in a news release Saturday morning. He was 74.
Senate president Ty Masterson said in a statement that Estes had "a kind and gentle spirit and was well respected by all who served with him in the legislature." Masterson's spokesman, Mike Pirner, said Estes' widow notified lawmakers of his death and approved the release.
Estes, who won re-election in November to a second term representing a southwest Kansas district that includes the Dodge City and Liberal area, had been hospitalized in recent months. He had not been in Topeka this session.
He served in the Kansas House for four years before being elected to the Senate, where he served as chair of the Federal and State Affairs Committee and vice chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Kansas state treasurer Lynn Rogers tweeted Saturday morning that Estes' voice will be missed.
"My deepest sympathy to the family of Republican State Sen. Bud Estes, who passed away early this morning," Rogers wrote. "We may not have always agreed, but we could always talk and his voice, on the floor and in our lives, will be missed."