U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam Hamilton died Feb. 20 after experiencing chest pains while skiing in Colorado.
Hamilton’s death was consistent with an underlying heart problem, Summit County (Colo.) Coroner Joanne Richardson told The Associated Press. He was in Colorado for a regional leadership training meeting, which ended Feb. 19, said the agency in a news release.
Hamilton, 54, was sworn in as director in September 2009 after more than 30 years with the service.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement that Hamilton’s leadership and commitment to the service will be missed.
Sam was a friend, a visionary, and a professional whose years of service and passionate dedication to his work have left an indelible mark on the lands and wildlife we cherish. His forward-thinking approach to conservation — including his view that we must think beyond boundaries at the landscape-scale — will continue to shape our nation’s stewardship for years to come.”
He is survived by his wife, Becky, two sons and a grandson, all of Atlanta, Ga.