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We now have confirmation of the sad news that was racing around the political world for the past couple of hours: That Nassau GOP Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt, 62, of Massapequa, collapsed and died suddenly this morning, apparently of a heart attack.
Tributes have begun to pour in.
Reporter Patrick Whittle sends us this from Hempstead:
Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray said she and the town board were "deeply saddened" by the death Murray issued a statement in which she described Schmitt as an outspoken fighter for Nassau residents. "Seldom shy or silent, Peter was a spirited champion for the causes and constituency he represented," Murray said. Murray described Schmitt as "a dynamic leader" whose death will leave residents "to cope with the death of a relentless fighter for the public's well being."
Celeste Hadrick sends this from Nassau GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello:
Peter Schmitt was an extraordinary human being, a dedicated public servant and one of my dearest friends. His passing is a horrible personal tragedy and a terrible loss for the people of Nassau County. Peter left a mark on Nassau County that will be felt for generations to come. He was a passionate fighter for Nassau taxpayers who always said what he meant and meant what he said. His untimely and sudden death has left a horrible void in our county and broken the hearts of all those who knew and loved him.My prayers go out to his family, particularly his wife and best friend, Lois. While Peter has been taken from us far too soon, our love and respect for him will live on in our hearts forever.