Officials: State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago dies of heart attack

Posted: Updated:
BRIDGEPORT -

State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago from the 130th District died of a heart attack Friday, officials say. He was 45.

Family members say Santiago died of a massive heart attack early Friday morning at the home of his fiancee in Bridgeport.

"She said he had a very sharp pain, he couldn't breathe,” said Mitch Robles, Santiago’s stepfather. “By the time he got in the ambulance he was already gone. He didn't have a chance."

Santiago’s family spent the day greeting those who came to pay their respects to their family business on State Street in Bridgeport. Among them was Gov. Ned Lamont, who said the six-term Democrat and chairman of the House Banking Committee reached across the aisle to get things done and to bring people together.

"I loved working with him up in Hartford,” said the governor. “It was all too brief. It just reminds you that life is short. Let's celebrate Zeke."

Gov. Lamont ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of Santiago.

Mayor Joe Ganim called the state representative “quiet, unassuming, but hardworking and effective.”

As chairman of the Bridgeport Legislative Delegation, Santiago fought to build a casino in the city.

Tributes came pouring from leaders across the state, who called Santiago "a gentle unifier who devoted his life to public service."

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