LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Officials with the Arkansas Treasury confirmed Wednesday that State Treasurer Mark Lowery has died at the age of 66.

A statement from the state treasurer’s office noted that Lowery had been hospitalized and that his condition deteriorated rapidly overnight. Lowery’s daughter Erin Lowery said her father was surrounded by his family when he passed.

The news of Lowery’s passing comes just one day after it was announced Lowery was planning to retire his office at the end of September.

Lowery has faced multiple recent health issues following a pair of strokes this year, with the first coming in March and a second more-severe stroke in June.

Stephen Bright, the treasury chief of staff who was named Tuesday to lead the agency until a new treasurer was appointed, asked for public support for Lowery’s family and those who worked with him.

“We are devastated. Losing Mark represents a huge loss for the entire staff,” Bright said. “Mark was an incredible leader and a humble public servant and this was unexpected. It’s definitely going to take us time to process this. We ask that you keep Mark’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this time.”

Messages of condolences quickly started coming in celebrating Lowery’s life.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted Lowery’s work in education as both a lawmaker and teacher, calling him a “dedicated advocate for Arkansas’ children and families.”

“Bryan and I are saddened to hear about the loss of Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery. Mark was a lifelong public servant and a dedicated advocate for Arkansas’ children and families. To those who knew Mark, it was no surprise that he threw his hat into the ring and ran for the statehouse in 2012 – and it was even less of a surprise that in his decade-long tenure as a State Representative, he brought about several major reforms to Arkansas’ education system. In his run for State Treasurer last year, he promised to extend that record of public stewardship to Arkansas’ state finances.

“I am deeply saddened that Mark’s term as Treasurer was cut so short. Bryan and my prayers are with the entire Lowery family, his friends, and the Treasurer’s office staff in this difficult time.”

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin called Lowery a “dedicated servant of Arkansas.”

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of State Treasurer Mark Lowery. Mark was a dedicated servant of Arkansas for 30 years as an elected official, journalist and educator. Mark fought for fairness in elections, and Arkansas is better because of his service. My prayers are with Mark’s family and friends, and I offer them my sincere condolences.”

Attorney General Tim Griffin

Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Leslie Rutledge said Lowery’s service blessed the state.

“Boyce and I are saddened to hear of the passing of State Treasurer and our former State Representative, Mark Lowery. Mark was a longtime public servant and dear friend. I will miss seeing his smiling face and hearing his words of encouragement. We always enjoyed Mark’s good-natured company at political gatherings and Christmas receptions in our home. Arkansans have been blessed by his service to our great State. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and staff during this difficult time.”

Lieutenant Governor Leslie Rutledge

Arkansas House Speaker Matthew Shepard noted that Lowery’s commitment to the Natural State would be “deeply missed.”

“Mark Lowery devoted much of his life to the service of the people of Arkansas. His dedication and commitment to our state will be deeply missed. I send my prayers and condolences to his loved ones.”

Matthew Shepard (R – El Dorado), Speaker of the House for the 94th Arkansas General Assembly

Before serving in his current role, Lowery served for five terms in the Arkansas General Assembly, chairing the House Insurance and Commerce Committee twice and also serving on the Education Committee.

During his time in office, he often championed the expansion of home-school programs in the state. He started his career in government working as the chief of staff for then Lt. Gov. Mike Huckabee in the 1990s.

Wednesday afternoon Huckabee released a statement on Lowery’s passing calling him a “congenial and caring person” who was “deeply devoted in his Christian convictions.”

“I was deeply saddened to learn that our State Treasurer Mark Lowery had died this morning after a long illness. Mark’s initial public service job was as Chief of Staff for me when I was Lt. Governor. Mark was a congenial and caring person and was deeply devoted in his Christian convictions. He served in the state legislature for 10 years and established himself as a reliable and consistent conservative lawmaker. He was well-liked by his peers and had an authentic compassion for people, especially those who were hit hard by life’s battles. My condolences to Mark’s family and to his devoted staff at the Office of the Treasurer.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

In addition to his political roles, Lowery worked in local publishing, taught at both the University of Central Arkansas and Henderson State University and led the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Financial Advisors.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correctly list Mr. Lowery’s age at the time of his passing to 66.