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Senator Bennett has passed away from brain tumor

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) has passed away.

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. He 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.

“Scott lived a life full of service and constantly looked for ways to lend his time and energy to helping our community and state,” his wife Stacy Bennett said. “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.” 

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.”

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 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.”

Governor J.B. Pritzker also sent his condolences.

“Today, the state of Illinois mourns the loss of a dedicated public servant and devoted father,” he said. “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.”

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.”

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,” Jones said. “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.”

He is survived by his wife Stacy and his two children.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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