New Hampshire House Speaker Richard “Dick” Hinch has died of the novel coronavirus, according to a statement from the state’s attorney general’s office.
The state’s chief medical examiner determined Hinch’s cause of death on Thursday, following the Republican lawmaker’s sudden passing on Wednesday. He was 71.
“We ask that Speaker Hinch’s family be given the highest level of privacy and respect as they deal with this unexpected tragedy. There are no details to share at this time, however, I would ask that you please keep Speaker Hinch’s wife Pat, and their children in your warm wishes,” Hinch’s office said in a statement Wednesday.
Hinch had been elected to the speakership on Dec. 2. He previously served as the state House’s Republican leader and House majority leader. Gov. Chris Sununu has instructed all public buildings and grounds to fly their flags at half-staff in observance of Hinch’s passing.
“Speaker Hinch was a fierce defender of the New Hampshire Advantage, a close friend, and a respected public servant. His loss will be greatly felt by the people of this state,” the governor said.