Wayne Stenehjem, the longest-serving attorney general of North Dakota and a a former legislator, has died at the age of 68. The press release from the Attorney General’s office confirmed his death. 

“It is with the utmost sadness that the Office of Attorney General announces that Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem passed away unexpectedly on Friday January 28, 2022. He was 68,” the release said.

Also read: Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith slams Jeff Garcia’s ‘sexist’ comments on female analyst Mina Kimes

Stenehjem died about 6:20 PM at a Bismarck hospital, his spokeswoman Liz Brocker said. The cause of his death has not been revealed. The former legislator’s brother, Allan, told KFYR-TV that Stenehjem had been taken to a hospital Friday morning after a medical call to his home.

The office said funeral arrangements are pending. 

“We know Wayne was a widely respected and well-known public figure, but we ask that his family be allowed time to grieve in private,” the statement said.

Also read: In Pics | Ukrainian frontline village awaits next move amid Russian threat

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum paid his tribute saying the state admired him for decades of service. 

“Like so many North Dakotans who treasured his friendship and admired him for his more than four decades of exceptional service to our state, we are absolutely devastated by the passing of Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. Wayne embodied public service, both as a dedicated legislator and the longest-serving attorney general in our state’s 133-year history,” Burgum said. 

Also read: Texas toddler hailed as hero after his call saves family from deadly fire

Stenehjem spent 24 years in the Legislature before being elected attorney general in 2000, then winning five more times. In that long career, he supported an overhaul of North Dakota’s court system, laws against domestic violence, consumer protection measures and legislation to keep North Dakota’s government meetings and records open to the public.

With inputs from the Associated Press