Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery died Wednesday morning at age 66, a day after he announced plans to retire later this year.
Lowery had suffered two strokes over the past several months. His condition deteriorated rapidly overnight and he died in a hospital Wednesday morning, the state Treasurer’s Office said in a news release. Lowery’s daughter, Erin, said he was surrounded by family and died peacefully.
“We are devastated,” Stephen Bright, Lowery’s chief of staff, said in the release. “Losing Mark respresents a huge loss for the entire staff. Mark was an incredible leader and public servant and this was unexpected. We ask that you keep Mark’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this time.”
Lowery, a Republican, took office in January after serving 10 years in the state House. During his time in the Legislature, he sponsored a 2017 law that reinstated the state’s requirement that voters show photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot. A previous voter ID law had been struck down by the state Supreme Court, but justices in 2018 upheld Lowery’s revision.
“Mark Lowery devoted much of his life to the service of the people of Arkansas,” House Speaker Matthew Shepherd said in a statement. “His dedication and commitment to our state will be deeply missed.”
After suffering a stroke in March, Lowery spent several weeks rehabilitating in Arkansas and recovering with his daughter in Maryland. Lowery’s office described his second stroke in June as more severe and said it led him and his family to decide to announce his retirement.
“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of State Treasurer Mark Lowery,” Attorney General Tim Griffin said in a statement. “Mark was a dedicated servant of Arkansas for 30 years as an elected official, journalist and educator. Mark fought for fairness in elections, and Arkansas is better because of his service.”
The state treasury will be run by the chief of staff and deputy treasurer until Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders appoints a replacement.
Sanders said in a statement that she was “deeply saddened that Mark’s term as Treasurer was cut so short.”
“Mark was a lifelong public servant and a dedicated advocate for Arkansas’ children and families,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed information to this report.
Lowery’s age was reported as 67 in a previous version of this story due to incorrect information provided by the Treasurer’s Office.