FRANKFORT, Ky (WHAS11) -- Mike Haydon, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's Chief of Staff, has died, the governor's office confirmed Sunday afternoon.
Haydon had served as Beshear's chief of staff since September, 2010, after heading legislative affairs for the governor's office.
“Jane and I are shocked and devastated by the sudden death of my chief of staff and good friend, Mike Haydon," Beshear said in a statement. "Mike’s deep experience in state and local government and his vast knowledge of the issues that really matter to the people of this state made him an invaluable leader in our administration and a strong advocate for local governments."
"Jane and I will always be grateful for his dedication, counsel, knowledge and sense of humor. We have not only lost a man who dedicated his life to improving the future for Kentuckians; we have also lost one of our best friends. But the pain of our loss pales in comparison to that of his wife, Lisa, and their three children, Blair, Kate and Ben, as well as the many members of his extended family. Mike was a dedicated husband and father, and he was never happier than when he was with his family. We grieve with them now, and are praying for them."
Haydon had also served as House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins' chief of staff, secretary of the Revenue Cabinet, and commissioner of the Department of Property Valuation.
He was the former mayor of Springfield, Ky and had also served as Property Valuation Administrator for Washington County.
"I'm shocked to hear about the death of my long time friend Mike Haydon," said University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey in a statement released by the university. Ramsey worked with Haydon in the administration of former Gov. Paul Patton.
"Mike was a respected public servant who used all of his energy to make Kentucky a better place for all," Ramsey said. "The thoughts and prayers of all of us in the University of Louisville family go out to Mike's wife Lisa and his entire family."
In July, 2011, Beshear named Haydon to spearhead a state probe into traffic problems at the inaugural Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky Speedway.
When Haydon succeeded Adam Edelen as chief of staff in 2010, Beshear said Haydon knew every corner of the state.
“He brings a breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding about this state’s challenges that few can match," Beshear said in September, 2010, "and I am confident in his ability to serve my office and the people of Kentucky in this critical position.”