Gary Ott’s family confirmed to the Deseret News that he passed away early this morning. The 66-year-old had Stage 4 Alzheimer’s disease and has been in hospice care for the past week.
Public officials reacted as the news spread. Gov. Gary Herbert was near the end of his monthly KUED news conference when a reporter brought it up.
“Wow,” the governor said as he learned of Ott’s passing.
“Wow. That’s really a sad thing. I’ve known Gary Ott going back to my days as a county commissioner. We all know the controversy that’s taken place now, but let’s dwell on Gary the person,” he said.
Herbert joined other public officials in remembering Ott as a hard worker and dedicated public servant.
“He served to the best of his ability. I know his skills probably diminished because of health concerns over these last couple of years, but he was a good man,” he said.
The Republican served as Salt Lake County recorder for 16 years, maintaining property records in the county. He was most recently reelected in 2014.
Ott’s family negotiated his resignation from office this summer following months of public outcry over his deteriorating condition. His passing comes days after a court hearing in which his siblings sought to maintain guardianship over him, arguing against his former girlfriend and caretaker.
Ott’s case is prompting state lawmakers to take a harder look at mental competency and removal of elected officials.