Utah politician Randy Horiuchi has died

Posted at 6:30 PM, Nov 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-19 23:41:05-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Randy Horiuchi, a well-known figure in Utah politics, has died at the age of 61.

As news of his passing broke Thursday evening, the political world was quick to respond.

"It was a surprise to many of us," said Peter Corroon, current Democratic State Party Chair. "We knew he wasn't in good health but didn't think it was like this."

Horiuchi was a Salt Lake County commissioner and then a councilman for several terms, and he also served previously as the chairman of the Utah Democratic Party.

The Utah Democratic Party extended their condolences to the family in a statement released Thursday night, saying Randy and his jokes will be missed by all.

“On behalf of the Utah Democratic Party, we express our condolences to the family of our former Party Chair, Randy Horiuchi. Randy remains a democratic institution, and his wealth of knowledge (and his jokes) will be missed by all.

“Randy loved his family and the people with whom he served. He loved his community, and he loved politics. Above all, Randy was always willing to give a helping hand and was fiercely loyal to his friends. While he was an avid Democrat, he had as many Republican friends as Democrats.

“Randy was a visionary leader, and he was one-of-a-kind. He loved the county commission form of government. I'm sure he is already creating a county commission in heaven.

He will be greatly missed.”

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also issued a statement on Horiuchi's passing Thursday night:

“Randy Horiuchi championed the great State of Utah for more than 25 years, giving generously of his time, talents, and resources to enhance the lives of Utah residents, particularly in Salt Lake County. I have always admired Randy for his passion and unending optimism during his years of public service. Those of us who knew Randy, loved Randy. He will be missed. ”

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams also released a statement Thursday, saying Horiuchi's efforts helped shape the community and organization that is Salt Lake County:

“I am saddened by the news of Councilman Horiuchi’s passing. Randy helped to shape Salt Lake County – both the community and the organization. He dedicated much of his life to public service and will be remembered fondly for his ability to keep us all laughing, even during tough times. I’m sending my deepest sympathies to Randy’s family and friends."

Horiuchi retired about two years ago after suffering from a stroke, however, he didn't completely stay away from politics.

“Even here last month he was helping us recruit new candidates to run for office," Corroon said. "So, he was a Democrat right to the very end.”

The cause of Horiuchi's death has not yet been released.