Hawaii Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy died in a plane crash on Wednesday. Loretta, you may remember, was the woman who authorized the release of President Obama’s birth certificate in the midst of the birther craze.
According to NPR, Fuddy was one of nine passengers aboard a small plane that unexpectedly crashed into waters off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Molokai on Wednesday. All other people aboard the plane survived the crash.
Fuddy’s colleague Tom Mastuda spoke on the passing of his co-worker and friend today.
“I cannot even begin to convey what a terrible loss this is for Hawaii,” Matsuda said in a statement. “I worked closely with Director Fuddy on the Affordable Care Act and came to know and respect her as a passionate advocate for public health and a warm, caring human being.”
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie echoed those sentiments in a statement of his own.
“Her knowledge was vast, her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience,” he said.
Fuddy’s split-second in the spotlight came in 2011 when she authorized the release of Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate. The release included certified copies of President Obama’s certificate signed by his delivery doctor, mother and the local registrar. The certificate’s release proved to be a near fatal blow to the birther crowd. There’s still a few of you out there, but nothing like before.
Those who worked with Fuddy commended her on her excellent work as the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health. On the day of her death, Hawaii was ranked America’s healthiest state.
“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 Josh Green, chairman of the state’s health committee. “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.”