Rep. Liz Cheney on Tuesday praised former Sen. Mike Enzi as an “absolute giant” for Wyoming following his shocking death late Monday from a bicycle accident that occurred days earlier.
The Republican said Mr. Enzi was a reliable mentor and teacher whose love for his home state was surpassed only by his dedication to his wife, Diana, his children and grandchildren.
“This is a sad day for Wyoming and for America,” Ms. Cheney said. “Mike was an absolute giant in our state and his sudden loss just months after retiring from the U.S. Senate is difficult for all of us to accept.”
Mr. Enzi suffered a broken neck and broken ribs in the Friday night bicycle accident in Gillette, Wyoming. His family said he died at the hospital surrounded by family.
A former mayor of Gillette, Mr. Enzi entered the Senate in 1997, following two terms in the House of Representatives.
“Mike was a straight-shooter, an honest broker, and a soft-spoken but powerful advocate for the causes he cared deeply about,” Ms. Cheney said. “Whether it was pushing for fiscal discipline as head of the Senate Budget Committee or fighting for the needs of Wyoming’s energy industry, Mike was always guided by principle and conviction.”
Ms. Cheney, who is battling members of her own party over her participation in the House Democrats’ committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, roiled Wyoming politics by announcing a primary bid for Mr. Enzi’s seat in 2014.
She bowed out amid the resulting uproar and pushback from Republicans who said it was an affront to Mr. Enzi.
The former senator had a reputation as one of the chamber’s most conservative members, but one with friends across the political spectrum.
“I ask the people of Wyoming and across the country to join me in extending our most profound sympathies to his family and loved ones,” Ms. Cheney said.
Former Vice President Mike Pence remembered Mr. Enzi as “a man of integrity and a dedicated public servant.”
“He will be deeply missed,” Mr. Pence tweeted.
Remembrances poured in from across the aisle, too.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat, said Mr. Enzi was “a good man, who always put the needs of Wyoming families first.”
“Mike was a reliable partner in the Senate to bridge the partisan divide to make important investments in our country,” she said.
• Mark A. Kellner contributed to this report.