ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola’s husband has died in an airplane crash, her office said in a statement Wednesday.
“We are devastated to share that Mary’s husband, Eugene Peltola Jr. — ′Buzzy’ to all of us who knew and loved him — passed away earlier this morning following a plane accident in Alaska,” her chief of staff, Anton McParland, said in the statement.
No other details about the crash were immediately available. A message left with the National Transportation Safety Board in Anchorage was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Peltola was returning to Alaska from Washington, D.C., to be with her family, and McParland asked for their privacy as the family grieves.
“He was completely devoted to his parents, kids, siblings, extended family, and friends — and he simply adored Mary. We are heartbroken for the family’s loss,” McParland said.
Peltola, an Alaska Democrat, was elected to a full term in the U.S. House in November, months after winning a special election following the death of U.S. Rep. Don Young. The Republican had held Alaska’s sole House seat for 49 years until his death.
Peltola, who is Yup’ik, is the first Alaska Native to serve in the U.S. House.