The news is hitting close to home for those who worked with Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy as well as those she helped. People who knew her say she was a genuine person who always cared for others.
"My heart is sick because Loretta Fuddy was truly devoted to her job and her job as director of health was to make sure all the rest of us was healthy," said Senator Josh Green, chairman of the committee on health.
Green worked with Fuddy for three years. He says she was passionate about her job and passionate about the people of Hawaii.
"She was always looking out for people with disabilities and you could tell she was on the job I guess, either coming from home or going off to work on Maui or Molokai, and that's when this tragedy occurred," said Green.
Others she helped echoed those feelings.
"We lost a good good good lady. We just had a meeting, I can talk to her you know, she no give us the run around or what, she's a good lady, we're going to miss her," said Boogie Kahikihiwa, a Kalaupapa resident.
Green says he and a colleague learned of Fuddy's death late Wednesday. They reflected on the time they knew her.
"When she came in to the job, absolutely 100 percent of the people supported her testimony. There were tears of joy that she had risen to the department of health directorship and she was proud, and she should have been. She did not just a great job in the department of health, but her whole career," said Green.
While saddened by loss, green says he's proud of Loretta Fuddy, and says she left a legacy for thousands of people to see.
"It's so appropriate that just yesterday the stories broke that Hawaii was number one in health again for the country, and I think director Fuddy deserves the credit for that," said Green. "Maybe some of the last things that she was able to think about was that we made it back to the top, that our state was number one for health and she was our leader on that."