Here’s what people are saying:
Alexandra Hughes, Busch’s longtime chief of staff:
“At 3:22 pm this afternoon, Maryland Speaker of the House Michael Erin Busch passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones. He was 72 years old.
“He’s survived by his wife, Cindy, daughters, Erin and Megan, sisters Gail Burkhead, Laurie Bernhardt and Susan Evans.”
Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, who has been battling prostate cancer this year, released this statement.
“My heart is broken for Mike Busch’s family, the State of Maryland, and the Speaker's extended family — elected officials and staff that he has been a mentor and coach to over his time in public service. Mike has been a friend for years, and has led the state to new heights of environmentalism and education, while ensuring that a new generation of leaders move our state forward. He was a true model of a State Delegate; he cared for every corner of the state, but never forgot about the people he was elected to represent. I will miss him as a friend and partner in state government and I join all the state in mourning his passing.”
“We loved him. We loved him because he always stuck up for the underdog,” said Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. “He was the favorite son of this city.
“I thought he was Iron Mike. I thought he was going to come through this.”
John Astle, former state senator from Annapolis, called Busch a special friend. They served together in the legislature for decades.
“We’ve been through a lot of things together. It’s a really tough day.”
Many other member of the county’s General Assembly delegations tweeted condolences.
“Anne Arundel County is a better place because of Speaker Mike Busch,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said in a statement released by his office.
“He left us with buildings and parks where our people come together as community, and he led us with a humility and compassion that reminds us what matters in life. 'Iron Mike' served the people of this county with every ounce of energy, heart, and love that he could muster to the very end.
“The people of this county will now come together to express our gratitude. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We love you."
Former Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said:
“His longevity as Speaker was due to an extraordinary combination of skills and gifts. At his core, he was a coach. I believe his experience as a young man coaching unruly children informed everything he did in his adult life.
He was a great leader. He ran the House of Delegates the way Vince Lombardi ran the Green Bay Packers. He kept a raucous Democratic caucus in line and the House overall in good order.”
State Sen. Jim Rosapepe, chair of Senate Democratic Caucus:
“I knew Mike since we came to the legislature the same year. He knew how to work across party lines, but he also knew — and could eloquently explain — why he was a Democrat. His death is a great loss to Maryland and to the working people he fought for.”
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings released this statement:
“I was honored to serve alongside Speaker Busch in the House of Delegates, and I came to know him as one of our state's most thoughtful and dedicated legislators who tirelessly worked for his constituents.
“As the longest-serving House of Delegates Speaker in Maryland’s history, Speaker Bush had an immense impact on our state, working to pass legislation to protect our health and the environment.” in mourning his passing, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer released this statement:
“During his time in public service, he led the charge to expand access to health care for thousands of Marylanders, to protect the oyster population and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and to ensure more families had access to opportunity. Mike also fought to ensure marriage equality in Maryland, and he worked to improve education and fund school construction throughout our state.
“But more than his legislative accomplishments, Mike was a dear friend – to me and to so many colleagues he served with and mentored in the Maryland General Assembly. We will miss his counsel and his friendship deeply.”
“As an educator, coach, Recreation and Parks administrator, and legislator, Speaker Busch was an unwavering champion for every single child in Anne Arundel County and in Maryland,” Anne Arundel County Schools Superintendent George Arlotto wrote in a statement.
From Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, President and CEO Margaret B. Davis and her predecessor Linnell Bowen issued a joint statement:
“The entire Maryland Hall family joins with our community tonight in mourning the passing of our good friend, Mike Busch… Every student, young and old, who has taken a class here; every person who has attended a performance or a film in our theaters; every family that has experienced together the wonderful power of the creative arts has Mike Busch to thank for his enduring commitment to helping make Maryland Hall the premier cultural hub in the region. This building will stand as a lasting tribute to his vision and leadership.”
“Mike was an exemplar of what public service is about,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said. “He was honest, selfless, intelligent and giving. He represents the best that democracy has to offer. Our State owes him a debt of gratitude.
“I join many others in sending love and thanks to his family.”