Florida congressional candidate April Freeman has died suddenly of an apparent heart condition on Sunday, according to her husband.
Her husband, David, announced the passing of his wife on her Facebook page on Monday afternoon with a gut-wrenching update.
“Its [sic] with great sadness that I feel I must inform all of you that my beloved wife April passed away suddenly last night. To all of her family and friends here on Facebook, my heart aches with you.”
In a brief phone interview on Monday, he told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “It appears that she was having a heart attack.”
“That’s all I know right now,” Freeman told them. “I’ll post more…I have no further comment.”
Freeman, 54, put her career as a TV and film producer on hold to run for Congress for the third time. She lost the District 19 seat to U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson in 2014 and the District 17 seat to U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney in 2016.
Freeman has been involved in politics her whole life. She volunteered as a 16-year-old for President Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1980 and worked as a fellow on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Freeman would have opposed Republican Sen. Greg Steube this year for Republican Rep. Tom Rooney’s vacated seat.
Freeman is survived by her husband, a popular union pipefitter and HVAC specialist, their two children, and two grandchildren.
Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner said, “The state party will work with local county parties that are affected to come up with a nominee.
“The ballot’s already printed so essentially a vote for April Freeman will be for whoever the nominee ends up being,” he added.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released a statement relaying his sadness over Freeman’s death.
“Her work ethic and passion was an inspiration to all of us,” she added. “It is a tremendous loss to the Democratic Party and to all who knew her.
“Our hearts break for her family and love ones, who are grieving her loss.”
Rizzo told CNN Freeman was in the office working and making calls “just last night.”
According to the Florida Department of State, Freeman’s name will still be on the ballot come November, but the state’s Democratic Party “will have the opportunity to designate a nominee to fill the vacancy.”
“A notice will be provided to voters indicating that a vote for the former party nominee will be counted for the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee,” Sarah Revell, director of communications for the department, told CNN.