Longtime New Hampshire politician Richard "Dick" Hinch died Wednesday at 71, a week after becoming the state's speaker of the house, the office of the speaker said in a statement.
"He was a loving husband, father, family man, and veteran who devoted his life to public service," the office said.
The speaker's office didn't offer details about Hinch's death.
Hinch was starting his seventh term as a representative from Merrimack. He was previously the leader of his party in the House, which flipped from Democrats' control to Republicans' in November's election, and before that was House majority leader.
Gov. Chris Sununu ordered flags to fly at half-staff and remembered Hinch as a "fierce defender of the New Hampshire Advantage" as well as a friend.
"His loss will be greatly felt by the people of this state, and I ask Granite Staters to join me in praying for his family during this incredibly difficult time," Sununu said.
At the opening session of the New Hampshire Legislature last week -- an outdoor ceremony this year because of the coronavirus pandemic -- Hinch urged lawmakers to view each other as “friends and colleagues” rather than members of opposing parties, particularly during a pandemic.
Condolences poured in from other people in the New Hampshire political world as the news of his death broke: