BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died early Thursday after going into cardiac arrest. His sudden death at the age of 60 shocked everyone throughout the county and state.
Kamenetz, a Baltimore County native, was a Democratic candidate for the 2018 Maryland governor’s race.
“I’m a lifelong Marylander, and I’m a lifelong Democrat. I’m going to yell,” he previously said at a public event.
Here’s what we know:
- Officials said he died at 3:22 a.m. at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center
- He was sleeping at home in Owings Mills when he woke up around 2 a.m. complaining of tightness in his chest and went to the Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Company where they called 911
- Kamenetz leaves behind his wife, Jill, and two sons, ages 14 and 16
- His funeral will be held at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation at 2 p.m. Friday
Watch the full press conference below:
Kamenetz, a fixture in state politics for a quarter century, died of a heart attack — sending shock waves statewide.
“When you work with the county executive for as long as most of us have, you really do become a family. And you care about each other in a very, very special way. So this is a very very difficult time,” Kamenetz Chief of Staff Don Mohler said.
County officials say Kamenetz woke up feeling ill around 2 a.m., but instead of calling 911, he went to the Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Company, which is two miles from his home in Owings Mills.
His condition quickly deteriorated as he lost consciousness and never regained it, although firefighters were briefly able to get his pulse back.
“Why he made that decision, as opposed to calling 911 from home, I can’t answer that question,” Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said. “He did not have any health issues that anyone was aware of, so that makes this even more of a shock for people to deal with.”
The county executive was rushed to the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center where he was pronounced dead around 3:30 a.m.
“He was in full cardiac arrest, receiving CPR and he had a heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, which is very difficult to treat,” Dr. Gail Cunningham with the St. Joseph Medical Center said.
Kamenetz’s death upends the competitive race for governor. A victory would have been the pinnacle of a political career that began on the Baltimore City Council in 1994. He became county executive in 2010.
“When someone who seemed to be in the peak of health yesterday isn’t with you today, it’s just a shocking thing and it’s difficult to absorb,” Armacost said.
The county’s Chief Administrative Officer, Fred Homan, will take over in an acting capacity as county executive.
Kamenetz’s family declined an autopsy.