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Northampton State Rep. Peter Kocot Dies

A long-time state legislator from western Massachusetts has died.

Northampton State Rep. Peter Kocot,who served in the legislature since 2002, died Thursday.  

He was 61 years old.   His death was announced by the office of House Speaker Robert DeLeo.  No details were provided on the cause of his death.

State Rep. Brian Ashe of Longmeadow described Kocot as “ a gentle giant”  who was “well respected by his colleagues for the work he did.”

" I am extremely sad and devastated," added Ashe. "Peter was such a great guy and ( his death) was so unexpected and sudden, I just can't wrap my head around it."

Kocot is survived by a wife and two sons.

He was House chair of the Committee on Health Care Financing, which has been working on major health care legislation.

State Rep. Aaron Vega of Holyoke said Kocot took his work as a legislator very seriously, so much so that he rarely left his seat in the House chamber during a formal session.

"He was just so dedicated to the work," said Vega. "It is a huge hit for the legislature and for western Mass."

Funeral plans have not been announced.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.