Hawaii's Health Department Director Loretta Fuddy died in the plane crash off Molokai Wednesday, according to Maui County police.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Fuddy to her position in March 2011.
"Our hearts are broken. Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated, and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience," said Abercrombie. "We send our best thoughts to her family and will do all in our power to reflect her professionalism, her love of Hawaii and the high standard she set for herself and all of us."
“Loretta Fuddy embodied the very sprit and ethos of public service, dedicating her life to the health and wellbeing of all of Hawaii's people," said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim.
"Director Fuddy was a dedicated public servant with a passion for public health. She led with grace during difficult times, always rising to the challenge, and remaining focused on improving the health of all in the community," said state House Speaker Joe Souki. "She was especially passionate about the most vulnerable in our communities, a champion for mothers, newborns, and early childhood care. Her warm, caring spirit for the people of Hawaii will truly be missed."
"Loretta Fuddy was one of the finest, most capable, and most caring public servants I have ever known," said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. "This is a sad day for Hawai'i. My condolences and aloha go to Loretta's ohana and the Hawai'i Department of Health family. Loretta was one of the very best."
"Loretta dedicated her life to improving the well-being and health of Hawaii's people, and we are grateful for her decades of selfless service to others. She was a fierce advocate for our keiki and kupuna, working for more than 37 years to create a safe and healthy environment for our residents," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Sen. J. Kalani English, who represents Molokai in the State Legislature, said, "On behalf of the people of Hawaii, I would like to extend my most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy, who tragically passed away in a plane crash late Wednesday afternoon. Loretta was a true public servant and friend of the people. As the Director of Health, Loretta demonstrated an unwavering support for Hawaii and the people she served. She will be dearly missed."
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Loretta Fuddy, Director of the Department of Health and a member of the Hawai'i Health Connector's Board of Directors. I cannot even begin to convey what a terrible loss this is for Hawai'i," said Tom Matsuda, interim executive director for the Hawai'i Health Connector. "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. It is difficult for me to believe she is gone so suddenly. Our heartfelt condolences to Loretta's family and loved ones."
Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa extended his condolences to Fuddy's family, including her sister, who is a part of the Maui County family and works as a Maui Police Department Chaplain on Molokai.
"We are extremely saddened to hear the news. Loretta's life was dedicated to improving public health in the community and the entire state suffers from this loss," said Arakawa. "At the same time we are very grateful for the efforts of our men and women of the Maui fire and police departments, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard. They managed to get the rest of the crash survivors to shore safely and we thank them for this holiday miracle."
The plane went down about 10 minutes after takeoff from Kalaupapa to Honolulu.
Nine people, including the pilot, were on board the plane. Eight of those on board were rescued alive.
Fuddy was raised in Kaimuki and was a graduate of Sacred Hearts Academy. Her degrees are from the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins University.
Fuddy was on KITV on Tuesday talking about Hawaii's designation as the healthiest state in the nation. She was 65 years old.