ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch died Sunday afternoon after being hospitalized with pneumonia.

At 72, Busch was the longest-serving speaker in Maryland’s history. He was known for his ability to bring people together, leaders said.

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‘Legacy To Last For Generations’ | Md. Lawmakers Remember House Speaker Michael Busch

Governor Larry Hogan announced shortly after Busch’s death that effectively immediately, Maryland flags will fly at half-staff in honor of his life and legacy.

“This is a profoundly sad day for Maryland. Mike Busch was a giant in our government—the longest serving Speaker in our state’s history. He cared deeply about improving the lives of Marylanders, and his legacy is evident in his many legislative achievements.

Speaker Busch and I came from different sides of the aisle, but we often came together in the best interests of the people of Maryland. He served with the decency and good nature of a teacher, a coach, and a family man. I was honored to know him and to work closely with him.

On behalf of all Marylanders, the First Lady and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Speaker’s wife, Cindy, their daughters, Erin and Megan, and all of his colleagues. He was raised in Annapolis, he represented Annapolis, and he will forever be remembered here.

Effective immediately, Maryland flags will fly at half-staff in honor of Speaker Busch’s distinguished life and legacy until sunset on the day of interment,” Hogan said in a full statement.

Staff members said last week Busch was admitted to the hospital because his breathing took a significant turn for the worse.

Those closest to him said he will be missed.

“He was an amazing person to work with, leader, mentor, as a man I mean, Maryland has lost a jewel. We’ve lost a native son and his legacy will live on for a really long time,” said Nick Mosby, Maryland State Delegate (40th District).

Busch served as a leader in Annapolis since 1987 when he was elected to represent District 30. He took the gavel as Speaker in 2003.

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“He brought everyone together and focused on the issues and focused on what is good and he was a judge advocate and friend for Baltimore City and champion for the state of Maryland,” said Cheryl Glenn, Maryland State Delegate (45th District).

Busch’s most recent illness comes after two previous health scares. He had a heart bypass surgery last September, and the year before he received a liver transplant from his sister.

“I’ve never lived a 9-5 lifestyle, I’ve never been sick then all of a sudden you’re stopped in your tracks a little by this and you try to power through,” Busch said previously.

After being diagnosed with pneumonia, Busch missed several weeks of the Maryland General Assembly sessions.

Monday is the last day and largest session. Delegate Glenn said she will make sure they finish strong.

“I know that myself and others should be focused on is finishing the fight for the 2019 legislative session in memory of him and that’s being unified and finishing strong on issues that are so important for the state of Maryland.

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Kelsey Kushner