Larry Dillard, a longtime aide and adviser to Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), died suddenly on Wednesday after falling ill at an event Tuesday morning. 

Dillard, 59, had served on Scott's staff for nearly two decades, and his death was a tragic shock to the lawmaker and those who knew him.

"There are no words to describe the profound loss and sorrow that pervades all those who had the good fortune to know Larry," Scott (at right, with Dillard) said in a statement.

"He will be remembered as a tireless worker, devoted friend and mentor to many. Larry was a passionate history buff, avid Yankees fan, fountain of knowledge, skillful diplomat and the consummate spokesperson. He will be thought about often and sorely missed. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."

Dillard was touring Fort Monroe with Scott and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) when he became ill. He was transported to Sentara CarePlex Hospital in Hampton, Va., where he died. Scott said Thursday that he did not know the exact cause of Dillard's death, but that Dillard suffered from heart trouble. 

Prior to working in politics, Dillard was a journalist in Virginia.