- Associated Press - Sunday, March 27, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Former Michigan Democratic Speaker of the House Curtis Hertel Sr. died Sunday, according to a family spokesman. He was 63.

T.J. Bucholz said Hertel died Sunday of “natural causes” at his home in southeastern Michigan.

“We are absolutely devastated this morning,” Hertel’s son, current state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., said in a statement. “As we celebrate the life of this consummate public servant, we look forward to sharing our love with the thousands of lives that were touched by this great man.”

Hertel Sr. was first elected to the Michigan House in 1980 and served his Detroit district until 1998. He was co-speaker from 1993-94 with Republican Paul Hillegonds in an unusual power-sharing arrangement, and sole speaker from 1997-98.

Hertel comes from a family of lawmakers. Two brothers also served in state House, Senate or U.S. House.

After leaving the statehouse, his jobs included serving as executive director of the Detroit-Wayne County Port Authority and deputy director in Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth under former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Hertel is survived by his wife, Vickie, four children and five grandchildren.

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