BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Officials across Maryland reacted to the news of Thursday’s early morning death of Baltimore County executive and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kamenetz.

Kamenetz, 60, died from cardiac arrest just after 3 a.m. He is survived by his wife and two teenage sons.

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Political allies and rivals alike reeled from the sudden death of Kamenetz, who left an empty office at the peak of his career.

“I thought, he’s ready. You could just feel it, and you knew it,” Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond said.

Almond added that she watched her colleague, a challenger for the governor’s office, thrive on the campaign trail.

“I thought to myself, he seems to be the fittest he’s ever been. He’s full of energy and physically, he seemed to be in great shape. I thought, ‘Wow, he is really running this race for governor,'” Almond said.

His opponent, in the state’s top office said on Thursday that he praised the man who sought to unseat him.

“He was a man who dedicated his life to public service and spent decades working for the people of Baltimore County,” Gov. Larry Hogan said. “It’s a very sad day.”

State leaders mourned a true public servant, while city leaders were shocked and saddened.

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“Considered him a friend, someone you could always have a conversation with, a great supporter of Baltimore City,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said.

Those who shared the political stage with Kamenetz shifted focus in the wake of tragedy.

“Our hearts and prayers are just focused on his family, his wife, his children,” Baltimore County Council Chair Julian Jones said.

His best legacy, according to friend and former Baltimore County Councilman Sam Moxley. But also a wider loss for the citizens of Baltimore County who he says lost a brilliant leader.

“He was always thinking. He was always thinking, looking around, and if someone was talking to him, he was thinking of what they were saying and reviewing all of the facts that he knew in his mind. It was like a computer working,” Moxley said.

Everyone who spoke to WJZ’s Kimberly Eiten said their main concern is for the Kamenetz family — ahead of what happens next in the political arena.

Other reactions are below:

Even the Baltimore Ravens shared condolences: “This is stunningly sad news, and our hearts reach out to his wife Jill and teenage sons Karson and Dylan. Kevin is remembered as a champion for Baltimore County. His passion to help those who live and work here was sincere and impressive. He got things done. Kevin rooted for the Ravens. He brought his family to training camp each year, and he was sincerely interested in our team. Our deepest sympathy and our prayers go out to Kevin’s family.”

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