Tom Hannegan

Missouri Republican state Rep. Tom Hannegan died Wednesday of a stroke at age 51, his campaign treasurer said.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republican state Rep. Tom Hannegan died Wednesday of a stroke at age 51, his campaign treasurer said.

“The community has suffered a great loss,” said Hannegan’s campaign treasurer, Scott Mell.

Voters elected Hannegan, of St. Charles, to the state House in 2016. He was one of few openly gay Missouri lawmakers.

Hannegan advocated for criminal justice reform and human rights, and he proposed a ban on discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Hannegan was also an associate real estate broker and and publisher and editor in chief of a local magazine called StreetScape Magazine.

Republican House leaders in a joint statement described him as “a strong person of conviction in these chambers, a truly wonderful person and a dedicated public servant who will be greatly missed.”

“Tom will forever be remembered for his determination to serve those in need, as well as his great love for all people,” House leaders said.

Democratic House Minority Leader Crystal Quade in a statement called Hannegan “a kind and thoughtful person who cared about others and always put people before politics.”

“His sudden passing is a great loss, but he leaves a legacy as a champion for equality under the law for all Missourians,” she said.