The husband of Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK) died in a plane crash in Alaska, her chief of staff announced 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,” Anton McParland wrote in a statement.
Rep. Peltola was returning home to be with her family Wednesday, according to McParland. Her team will meet with constituents to “carry on the work of the office while Mary and her family grieve.”
Eugene Peltola was the former regional director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for Alaska. He retired from that position in July 2022.
Rep. Peltola, an Alaska native, was elected to a full term in Congress in November 2022 after defeating former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) in a special election following the death of longtime Rep. Don Young (R).
Several of Peltola’s fellow lawmakers have been sharing their condolences on social media.
“I am shocked, saddened and truly beyond words to express my grief at the loss of Gene Peltola Jr. Anyone who met Buzzy felt his warmth, generosity and charm. It was easy to see why so many Alaskans called him a friend, and how he was so loved by his family,” wrote Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).