A well known and respected Connecticut Republican Ben Davol who once served as a campaign director for John McCain died on Saturday morning while riding in the annual Closer to Free Ride in New Haven.
Davol was 58.
With friends on both sides of the aisle, he was respected in politics for his dedication. Friend and Former Chairman of the CT GOP Party and the current the Communications and Policy Coordinator for the State Senate Republicans, Chris Healy said Davol was dedicated to all his pursuits.
"He played hard," said Healy. "He lived his life to the fullest. He didn't cheat one day. I am going to miss him terribly."
Riders told Channel 3 that Davol suffered a heart attack in the area of East Rock Park in New Haven while participating in the Closer to Free Ride.
Yale New Haven Hospital issued the following statement:
Yale New Haven Hospital and the Closer to Free bike ride family were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of a 58 year old male rider during this morning's annual ride. No other details are available at this time.
Healy said friends and family said they are still in disbelief.
"He was doing what he loved to do which was ride a bike for charity for cancer," said Healy. "I was at an event last night where there were many Democrats and Republicans, he was on all their minds, we were reminiscing in a positive way even though we’re so full of sorrow about this I still don’t believe it."
Davol was a guest on Face The State in February of 2016. In 2000, Davol served as McCain's campaign director for Connecticut and New Hampshire. Again in 2008, he supported McCain who was the GOP nominee for President.
"If you measure someone by their life by the number of friends and people who respect you, he was a very rich man," added Healy.
Closer to Free Ride is an event held to raise funds for research and patient care at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center.
The ride begins and finishes at the Yale Bowl and has five different race lengths - 10, 25, 40, 65, and 100 miles.