By Josh Levs
(CNN) — Loretta Fuddy, the Hawaii official who confirmed the authenticity of President Obama’s birth record in Hawaii, died Wednesday night in a small-plane crash.
The aircraft, with nine passengers on board, crashed into the ocean about a mile off Kalaupapa, Molokai, on Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The other eight people survived, Petty Officer Stephen Woodbury said. One person swam ashore, a Maui Fire Department helicopter picked up four, and a Coast Guard helicopter rescued three.
Fuddy was director of the state’s health department.
“Our hearts are broken,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a prepared statement. “Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience.”
In April 2011, Fuddy confirmed Obama’s “long form” birth certificate as part of the state’s effort to put to rest questions about whether he was really born in the United States.
“I have seen the original records filed at the Department of Health and attest to the authenticity of the certified copies the department provided to the President that further prove the fact that he was born in Hawaii,” she said at the time.
A biography at hawaiihealthconnector.com said she was a recognized leader in the public health field and won numerous awards for her work. Her hobbies included singing in a church choir, “enjoying her cat Flint, and spending time with her grand nieces and nephews.”
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