ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) — The Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates has died.
Michael Busch passed away on Sunday afternoon at the age of 72, just one day before the end of the 2019 legislative session.
Busch had missed the last couple weeks of the General Assembly due to a battle with pneumonia.
Earlier on Sunday, the speaker's staff had warned his health was taking a turn for the worse.
Busch joined the House of Delegates in 1987 and served as House Speaker since 2003, the longest tenure in state history.
Mike Miller, President of the Maryland State Senate released the following statement after learning of Busch's death;
My heart is broken for Mike Busch’s family, the State of Maryland, and the Speaker's extended family - elected officials and staff that he has been a mentor and coach to over his time in public service. Mike has been a friend for years, and has led the state to new heights of environmentalism and education, while ensuring that a new generation of leaders move our state forward. He was a true model of a State Delegate; he cared for every corner of the state, but never forgot about the people he was elected to represent. I will miss him as a friend and partner in state government and I join all the state in mourning his passing.
Governor Larry Hogan also released a statement;
This is a profoundly sad day for Maryland. Mike Busch was a giant in our government—the longest serving Speaker in our state’s history. He cared deeply about improving the lives of Marylanders, and his legacy is evident in his many legislative achievements. Speaker Busch and I came from different sides of the aisle, but we often came together in the best interests of the people of Maryland. He served with the decency and good nature of a teacher, a coach, and a family man. I was honored to know him and to work closely with him. On behalf of all Marylanders, the First Lady and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Speaker’s wife, Cindy, their daughters, Erin and Megan, and all of his colleagues. He was raised in Annapolis, he represented Annapolis, and he will forever be remembered here
Hogan has ordered all state flags to fly at half-staff until sunset on his day of internment.
Since Busch's absence, Baltimore County Democrat and Pro tempore Adrienne Jones has presided over the House of Delegates.
The General Assembly is set to adjourn on Monday, in what's known as "Sine Die".