SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– Illinois lawmakers have begun speaking out on the untimely death of Sen. Scott Bennett.

Bennett’s wife Stacy released the following statement through the Senator’s office: 

“We are devastated to share that our beloved Scott has passed away. We remain in complete shock because it was all so sudden and unexpected.

“Scott will forever be known for being an extraordinary father, husband, and friend. His quick humor and wit could light up any room he entered. We will miss his stories, the way he could always make people laugh, and his genuine kindness.  

“Scott lived a life full of service and constantly looked for ways to lend his time and energy to helping our community and state. He worked tirelessly to find solutions to society’s most pressing issues by finding common ground and compromise. To say he will be greatly missed is an understatement. 

“We appreciate the amazing care he received at Carle Foundation Hospital and thank all of the doctors, nurses, and staff who provided Scott with excellent care and support for his family. We are also grateful for the outpouring of love and support. Scott’s impact on our community is very evident.  “At this time, we ask that our privacy is respected as we navigate this difficult time.”

Gov. JB Pritzker released the following statement:

“Today, the state of Illinois mourns the loss of a dedicated public servant and devoted father. Senator Scott Bennett was a good man who always operated with the best interest of his constituents in mind. Throughout his time in Springfield, he fiercely advocated for the institutions that shaped his life, from his upbringing on a Gibson City farm, all the way to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The entire state is a better place thanks to his service. MK and I send our thoughts to his loving wife Stacy and their two beautiful children during this difficult period.”

Lieutenant Gov. Juliana Stratton shared her support for Bennett’s family:

“Today, Illinois lost a dedicated public servant, an incredible leader, and a loving family man. I lost a fellow Illini and a friend. It is with a heavy heart that I learned of the passing of State Senator Scott Bennett.

“Scott was a brilliant and loyal fighter who not only worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents but also to uplift people throughout the state. Scott understood that being a leader requires the courage to speak up and the heart to listen.

“He collaborated with members from both sides of the aisle and always put what was best for Illinois first.

“Scott and I are both proud graduates of the University of Illinois. We would often greet each other with alumni pride. Scott brought energy and joy whenever he entered a room. I know that the halls of Springfield will have less joy because he is now gone. My husband Bryan and I extend our condolences to his wife, Stacy, and their children. We are praying for the family and all who love him including his colleagues in the General Assembly. May we all find comfort during this difficult time.”

Sympathetic statements have come from members across the General Assembly and other elected offices. Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said the following:

“I was devastated today to learn of the death of Senator Scott Bennett.

“My heartfelt sympathy and prayers are with his wife Stacy and their children during this unimaginably difficult time.

“I ask the media and others to respect their privacy.”

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) released the following statement on behalf of the members of the House Public Safety Working Group:

“The loss of Senator Scott Bennett is an unexpected tragedy. Senator Bennett’s collegiality and dedication was instrumental to the work of refining and enhancing the SAFE-T Act, and his dedication to his community was paramount. His passing is a sad moment for our state as a whole, and his community, his friends, and his family in particular. We are united in grief with all who loved Senator Bennett, and wish peace and comfort for his family.”

Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza‘s office shared a statement from her:

“What terrible, shocking news to hear of State Sen. Scott Bennett’s passing today. This is a heartbreaking and tragic loss for his wife and children. It is also an immeasurable loss for the state Senate, his constituents and the entire state of Illinois. He was a beloved colleague to all he served with. I had the honor and pleasure of working with Sen. Bennett – including recent discussions to increase awareness of autism in the workplace. He will be remembered for his warmth and wit. Not only was he one of the kindest legislators, but one of the most effective. May his family find peace as they grieve this tremendous loss. We will all miss him, and though his life was all too short, he leaves a lasting legacy. May he rest in God’s peace and eternal glory. To his family, thank you for sharing him with us. Scott will forever remain in my heart as well.” 

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs released the following statement:

“I can’t believe Scott is gone. He was a loving husband, devoted father, and to me, one of my closest friends.

“He fought for people as an assistant state’s attorney and continued to fight for people as an Illinois State Senator. He was not afraid of the difficult issues and there was no challenge too big for him to tackle.

“Scott had a big laugh and an even bigger heart. He made friends easily, understood the value of hard work, and was quick with words of encouragement at just the right time. Certainly, he learned these truths from his family, which date back five generations in East Central Illinois. Today, they remain deeply committed to helping neighbors, especially their fellow farmers, because it simply is the right thing to do. 

“Where he really shined, however, was with his wife, Stacy, and their twins. My heart breaks for their loss and the unimaginable grief and emptiness they must feel. I pray the memories they have of better times will strengthen and sustain them in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. I pray they will strengthen and sustain me too.”

“Farewell, Scott. You always will be my friend.”

Sen. Bennett’s colleague Sen. Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Plainfield) shared a statement remembering him:

“The passing of Senator Scott Bennett is a devastating loss to the Senate and to the State of Illinois. He was an incredible legislator, and I have a deep respect for his leadership both on and off the Senate floor.

“Scott was a good, upstanding man whom I looked up to. He brought humor into everything he did. I’m going to miss him as a colleague, but most of all, I’m going to miss him as a friend.

“My heart is with his family and all who knew him.”

State Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released a statement as well:

“The unexpected news of Senator Bennett’s passing is incredibly saddening. He was a wonderful colleague who loved his job. He was a natural at it all, and he always had ideas on how to make a bill stronger. In just seven years, he made a great name for himself in the Senate.

“As the chair of the Higher Education Committee, and member of many other committees, he was a very passionate and active professional whose work will live on. He was dedicated to the betterment of his constituency, impacting his community and Illinois at large.

“More than that, he was funny, charismatic and genuine. He adored his wife Stacey and children, and my prayers are with them at this time.”

The support for Sen. Bennett’s family is bipartisan. From Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich):

“The shocking news of the passing of Senator Bennett is absolutely devastating. My heart breaks for his wife and children, who lost him way too soon. Senator Bennett was one of the most genuine individuals and embodied what it means to be a true public servant. Today, the Illinois Senate lost a Senator who was truly serving to make a difference for the state of Illinois. I mourn with my Senate colleagues and the Senate Democratic Caucus. My prayers go out to his loved ones as they grapple with this unexpected and sudden loss.”

McConchie’s elected replacement, Senate Republican Leader-Elect John Curran (R-Lemont) put out the following:

“This is a devastating loss. Senator Bennett was a true statesman who was a master at the use of humor to disarm one in a debate. He displayed great passion and wisdom in crafting public policy and it was a privilege to work with him in the General Assembly. While it was evident that he enjoyed his work in the Legislature, nothing was more important to him than his family. The Senator’s wife, children, and extended family are in my prayers during this most difficult time.”