OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Sen. Mike Carrell, who has been receiving stem cell transplants since last month for a blood condition, died Wednesday from complications related to his treatment. He was 69.
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said Carrell died at a Seattle hospital of lung complications from his ongoing treatment of stem cell transplants from his brother and chemotherapy. Schoesler said that Carrell died in his sleep with his wife, Charlotte, nearby.
Earlier this year, the Lakewood Republican was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, also known as pre-leukemia. The chronic disease affects blood-forming stem cells.
In a statement, Schoesler said Carrell was a "kind, warm and gracious man, with a great sense of humor and strong convictions."
"His commitment to his community was always evident in his work, and you always knew exactly where you stood with him," Schoesler wrote. "At the same time, he worked every day he was at the Capitol to reach across the aisle in a bipartisan manner and to get results for his constituents and this state. "
Carrell, a retired math and science teacher, served 10 years in the House before first being elected to the Senate in 2004. He's been re-elected to the Senate twice, most recently in November. This past legislative session, he was chairman of the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee, but was out the latter half of the legislative session because of health issues.
An update written Tuesday on a website put together by friends raising money for his medical costs indicated a turn in his condition, saying that he had trouble fighting off fevers and nausea and was in grave condition.
Carrell is survived by his wife, their three sons and five grandchildren.