NEW JERSEY -  State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco died Monday of a major heart attack, according to his family.

Bucco (R-25th Dist.) has been undergoing treatment for a curable form of throat cancer since February.

 “It is with great sadness I share that Senator Tony Bucco suffered a major heart attack this morning at his home," said Bucco family spokesman Michael DuHaime on Monday evening. "He passed peacefully this evening with his family by his side at Saint Clare’s Hospital in Denville. The family kindly asks for privacy at this time.”  

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Bucco was 81. He served as mayor of Boonton, as a Morris County freeholder and as a state assemblyman before becoming a state senator in 1998.

NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt released the following statement regarding the passing of Senator Anthony Bucco:

“Senator Bucco leaves behind an enduring legacy of public service and selfless leadership," said NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt in a statement. "His sudden passing comes on the heels of his courageous fight with cancer. The State of New Jersey is no doubt a better place for his tireless work in the state legislature. The thoughts and prayers of the entire NJGOP family is with the Bucco family.”

The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders issued a statement Tuesday.

"We were privileged over many decades to be touched by his kindness, warmth and friendship," the freeholders said. "The Senator, who also served as an Assemblyman and Boonton Mayor and Alderman, consistently demonstrated his commitment to the economic, educational, cultural, and social welfare of his hometown, his district, his county, and his state."

The freeholders noted that Bucco was a U.S. Army Reservist, "a strong patriot and a particularly passionate advocate of working families in Morris County, never forgetting his humble roots, and paying close attention to the needs of his constituents."

In addition to his son, Bucco leaves his wife of more than 50 years, Helen Bucco, his daughter-in-law Amy Bucco and six grandchildren.

Bucco was born on Feb. 24, 1938 to Flora and Rocco Bucco, and was a lifelong resident of Boonton. He was the longtime owner of the Baker Adhesives manufacturing company in Paterson.

Bucco also was very active in many civic organizations, such as UNICO, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Prevention is Key, and was a member of organizations ranging from the Korean War Veterans Memorial to the State Fire Safety Commission, noted the freeholders.

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