45th District State Sen. Andy Hill dies of lung cancer

State Sen. Andy Hill, 54, of Redmond passed away this afternoon after a battle with lung cancer.

State Sen. Andy Hill, 54, of Redmond, who represented Kirkland from the 45th District, died Tuesday after a battle with lung cancer.

State Sen. Joe Fain released the following message: “At the request of Senator Hill’s family, it is with deep sorrow that I am writing to inform you that our friend and colleague has passed.”

Fain added that Hill’s wife Molly asked to send the family’s gratitude to those who knew and were touched by Andy. “The only thing he loved more than public service was his wife and children, Katie, Allie, and Charlie – he was tremendously proud of them,” Fain said.

A memorial service will be held on Nov. 11 in Redmond. Additional details will be available soon. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for people to make a donation in Andy’s name to Cancer Pathways, Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education (GRACE), or Dr. Jed Gorden’s outreach to underserved communities through Swedish Medical Center.

In June, Hill (R-Redmond) of the 45th Legislative District learned that his doctors discovered a small recurrence of lung cancer, he wrote on his website.

Hill was one of the scheduled speakers at a recent Cancer Pathways event, but was unable to attend as he was regaining his strength after undergoing cancer treatment.

While Hill was unable to attend, Molly did attend the breakfast.

She did not address the crowd but told the Reporter that their family was introduced to Pathways when Andy was asked to be a model in the organization’s annual Surviving with Style Fashion Show fundraiser six years ago. Prior to this, they didn’t know Pathways existed.

Molly described Pathways as a “really unbelievable support network.” She said they are like the best friend who knows exactly what to say in these situations.

Hill was diagnosed with lung cancer in March of 2009, and eight months later he was approved by a clinical trial in Denver to use a drug called crizotinib. The white pill was part of a new arsenal of “targeted” cancer therapies, and in a Reporter article in January of 2011, Hill and Molly call the pill “a miracle.”

Since he started taking the pill in October 2009, the cancer tumor continually subsided and the chest scans since February 2010 showed no cancer at all, noted the Reporter article.

“It took my doctors over four months to diagnose this disease (lung cancer), figuring that a healthy, athletic person that had never smoked a day in his life would never have lung cancer,” he said in the article.

In his message in June, Hill noted that he worked to maintain close communication with his constituents during his time as a candidate and state senator. He added that it was part of his commitment to honest and accountable representation, and that’s why he was giving a personal update.

Hill praised the health care system and thanked his doctors for allowing him to be part of the crizotinib trial.

“That drug soon became available to all and it and its successors have protected me for many years,” he wrote. “But the body can build up an immunity to specific treatments.”

Hill was the key budget writer for Senate Republicans, chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee and a member of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee.

“Our community has lost a tremendous man and leader,” said King County Council member Kathy Lambert in a statement. “Whether you knew him professionally, as a friend, or through his vast community involvement, he was someone who instantly earned the love of those around him. His dedication to serving children through his involvement in PTSA, coaching soccer, and tutoring was truly inspiring and will leave a lasting legacy that transcends generations.”

Added King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer in a statement: “Senator Andy Hill was a man of family, faith and friends, and he was a credit to all of them. He was respected by the people in his district and by the many friends on both sides of the aisle in the Legislature. His abilities and skills benefitted King County and all of the people of our state.”

A joint statement from King County Democratic Chair Rich Erwin and 45th Legislative District Democratic Chair and Kirkland resident Ken Albinger read: “We are grieved to hear of the passing of Senator Andy Hill. Senator Hill was a devoted father, parishioner, state lawmaker, and community leader entrusted by his caucus with the important responsibility of negotiating with House Democrats and Governor Inslee on state budgets. We appreciated Andy’s willingness as one of our elected representatives to engage us and our legislative action teams on many issues of mutual concern. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Molly, their three children, and his many friends, and commend them for faithfully supporting Andy during his multiple battles against cancer.”

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