A Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate died suddenly Thursday morning after experiencing cardiac arrest, authorities said.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, 60, awoke in his home outside of Baltimore around 2 a.m. feeling ill and was pronounced dead an hour later after being transported to St. Joseph Medical Center, the county said in a statement.
Kamenetz joined the gubernatorial race last September. He was one of seven Democrats in a crowded primary field competing for the Democratic nomination to oppose Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election.
Of the field, Kamenetz, who served 16 years as a Baltimore County council member before becoming county executive, was one of only three Democratic candidates with elected experience and viewed as a leading contender. The Democratic gubernatorial primary is scheduled for June 26.
The night before Kamenetz died, he participated in a candidate forum in Prince George's County, Maryland, alongside other Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
Hogan said he was "shocked" to hear of Kamenetz's passing.
"The First Lady and I are shocked and grieved by the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Our prayers go out to his family and many loved ones this morning," Hogan tweeted.
"Kevin Kamenetz's passing is a tremendous loss for Maryland. He was a dedicated public servant, and I considered him a friend," Shea tweeted.
US Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, called Kamenetz "an energetic public servant who cared about making a difference for those he served."
"MD and I both just lost a friend," he added.