Former Alaska politician Ben Stevens dies at 63

CBS News reports that Ben Stevens, the former Alaska Senate president, has died at the age of 63.

According to a statement released by the Alaska State Troopers, it appears that Stevens died after suffering a medical emergency while hiking.

“Lifesaving measures were unsuccessful”

The incident took place around 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022.

The Troopers’ statement reads, “Alaska State Troopers responded to a report of a hiker having a medical emergency with CPR in progress on the Lost Lake Trail in the Chugach National Forest outside of Seward.”

At the time, it was not known that the hiker was Stevens. That wasn’t discovered until later.

The statement continues, “coordinates were obtained and Lifemed was requested to respond. Alaska State Troopers and U.S. Forest Service officers responded to the trailhead. Lifemed reached the scene at 6:41 pm. and lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.”

Who was he?

Stevens was the son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, the prominent Alaska politician who died in a plane crash in 2010. Stevens had followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a politician himself.

Stevens, a Republican, first became a member of the Alaska state senate in 2001, and by 2005 he became the senate president. But, in 2006, Stevens did not seek reelection, and he was investigated as part of a corruption probe, although no crime was ever brought against him.

After that, Stevens would go on to become the chief of staff for Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), a position that he held through early 2021, when he moved on to become the vice president of external affairs and transportation for the company ConocoPhillips Alaska.

“Deeply saddened”

Dunleavy is among the numerous Alaskan politicians who have put out statements on social media following the news of Stevens’s passing. Dunleavy, like many, said that he is “deeply saddened by the sudden passing” of Stevens.

Many, in their statements, have expressed shock at the news of the passing given its unexpectedness and its suddenness. Former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) described the news as “surreal.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has put out a statement suggesting how prominent Stevens was in Alaskan politics, saying that Stevens’s death “leaves a hole in our Alaskan fabric.”

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