CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) has died.
The Champaign County Coroner confirmed the state senator died Friday afternoon. He was hospitalized Thursday.
The Gibson City native went to Illinois State University and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign for law school. Bennett, 45, worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Champaign County before being appointed to the Senate in January 2015.
Bennett’s office released in a statement he passed away from complications of a large brain tumor. His wife, Stacy Bennett, shared a statement about her husband.
“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.”Stacy Bennett
Rep. Jehan Gordon Booth (D-Peoria), who recently worked with Bennett on changing the SAFE-T Act, called Bennett’s death ‘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.”Rep. Jehan Gordon Booth (D-Peoria)
Darren Bailey, the Republican candidate for governor, said on Twitter he is “lifting the family of Senator Scott Bennett in prayer.”
The Illinois Republican Party also issued a statement on Twitter sending his family prayers.
“Sadly, we are mourning the tragic passing of Senator Scott Bennett,” they wrote. “He was a genuine public servant and an honorable man. We are sending our heartfelt prayers to his family in their time of need.”Illinois Republican Party (Twitter)
State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) released the below statement following the news of the passing of Senator Scott Bennett:
“The entire Rose family is deeply saddened to hear of the news of the passing of Senator Scott Bennett. Scotty was a great guy, who worked tirelessly for the folks of Champaign and Vermilion Counties. I always enjoyed the fact that when it came to local issues, we would work together without partisanship.
“I always looked forward to seeing him around town whether at the YMCA or the Buffalo Wild Wings, where we could occasionally run into each other with our kids. The world needs more Scott Bennetts, not less. Our prayers go out to his entire family.”State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet)
Governor J.B. Pritzker also sent his condolences.
“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.”Governor J.B. Pritzker
Treasurer Mike Frerichs, who held Bennett’s seat before becoming Treasurer, called Bennett one of his closest friends.
“My heart breaks for their loss and the unimaginable grief and emptiness they must feel,” Frerichs said. “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.”Treasurer Mike Frerichs
UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones called Bennett’s passing sad news.
“The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign community is mourning the passing of Sen. Bennett and sending condolences to his family. We all appreciated his service, compassion and heart, not just in his role as a legislator, but as someone who truly understood what it means to care about all of those who are part of your community.”UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones
The Senate President said he was devastated to learn of his passing.
“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.”Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park)
Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen said he made a difference for many people across Central Illinois.
“Scott, a fifth-generation Central Illinoisan, was committed to his family and his constituents in Champaign and Vermilion Counties. He was a staunch advocate for resources to enhance education, advance economic development, and improve the lives of our most vulnerable populations. During my time serving as Champaign’s Mayor, Scott was a tireless voice for our region, always willing to help when asked on any issue of importance to the City of Champaign or the community.”Deborah Frank Feinen, Champaign Mayor
Champaign legislator Carol Ammons reflected Bennett’s influence on her legislative career.
“I have always valued his insight, his passion and willingness to do the right thing for our communities and the people of Illinois. I am heartbroken to lose such a dear friend.”Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Champaign)
Many more Illinoisans mourned Bennett’s death.
He is survived by his wife Stacy and his two children. The Bennett family is asking for privacy.
Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz has asked if any constituents have campaign yard signs of Bennett to put them back out in his memory.
Governor J.B. Pritzker also ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff in Bennett’s memory.