Hawaii government officials are mourning the death but praising the life of Loretta Fuddy, the Department of Health director who died in a plane crash off the coast of Kalaupapa on Molokai yesterday.

Our hearts are broken,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie in a statement today. “Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated, and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience.”

State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said: Loretta Fuddy embodied the very spirit and character of public service, dedicating her life to the health and well-being of all of Hawaii’s people. … Under her leadership, she fostered a transparent and collaborative environment, engaging with lawmakers, community members, health care providers, and social service organizations.”

House Speaker Joe Souki: “She was especially passionate about the most vulnerable in our communities, a champion for mothers, newborns, and early childhood care. Her warm, caring spirit for the people of Hawaii will truly be missed.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: “While serving in the Honolulu City Council, I was grateful to be able to work closely with Loretta to alleviate the threat of dengue fever and radioactive contamination from the Japanese tsunami; more recently, we had been collaborating to help Hawaii veterans with water catchment systems qualify for VA loans. I am deeply saddened by her untimely passing, and my sincere condolences go out to her loved ones during this difficult time.”

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz: “Loretta Fuddy was one of the finest, most capable, and most caring public servants I have ever known.”

Loading Abercrombie on Fuddy’s Death: ‘Our Hearts Are Broken’

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