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Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan dies at 66

Former Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan10 under-the-radar races to watch in November The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate MORE (D-N.C.) died Monday at the age of 66, her family confirmed to The Charlotte Observer.

“We are heartbroken to share that Kay left us unexpectedly this morning,” the family said in the statement.

“Kay meant everything to us, and we were honored to share her with the people of North Carolina whom she cared for and fought for so passionately as an elected official. Most of all, we already miss her humor and spirit as the hub of our family, a role she loved more than anything. Nobody could light up a room and make people feel welcome like Kay,” they added.

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Hagan, who served in the North Caroline Senate for a decade, defeated Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) in 2008, becoming the first female senator to unseat an incumbent female senator.

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisNorth Carolina — still purple but up for grabs Team Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE (R) unseated Hagan in 2014. National Democrats pushed for her to challenge Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNorth Carolina — still purple but up for grabs North Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid Lara Trump mulling 2022 Senate run in North Carolina: report MORE (R-N.C.) in 2016 but she decided against a run.

Hagan’s family did not identify a cause of death, but Hagan was diagnosed with Powassan virus, a form of encephalitis that kills in about 10 percent of cases, in 2016.

“We are deeply grateful for the support shared with our family as Kay worked to regain her strength these last few years after her illness, and we appreciate your continued prayers,” Hagan’s family said.

“My heart goes out to Chip Hagan and the entire Hagan family in the passing of Kay. Sen. Hagan was dedicated to serving North Carolinians and especially to the men and women of the Armed Forces in America’s most military-friendly state," Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerNorth Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid Lara Trump mulling 2022 Senate run in North Carolina: report House GOP votes to keep leaders in place MORE (R-N.C.) said in a statement. 

"Chip has exemplified the devotion, love and care that every husband should aspire to," Walker added.