CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WLS) -- State Senator Scott Bennett, a Democrat who represents the Champaign area, died Friday at age 45 from complications of a large brain tumor, his wife said.
Bennett was surrounded by his wife, family and loved ones at Carle Hosital in Urbana where the tumor was being treated.
"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," his wife Stacy said in a statement. "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."
Bennett was appointed to the state senate seat previously held by Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs in 2015 after Frerichs was sworn into his new position.
He released a statement Friday saying in part, "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."
Senate President Don Harmon also released a statement, saying in part, "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."
Gov. JB Pritzker released a statement, saying in part, "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."
Pritzker ordered all flags be lowered to half staff in Bennett's honor.