Cliff R. Roop, a member of the Anne Arundel County Council, died of a heart attack after leaving the council chamber during a meeting in Annapolis last night, officials said.
Roop, 44, was elected as a Republican in 1998 to represent the 5th District, which encompasses the Broadneck Peninsula, in the Annapolis area.
Witnesses said he apparently collapsed in an office area behind the council chamber after leaving the dais during the session.
After council business proceeded for a time, council member Barbara Samorajczyk said, "we realized he was missing."
Samorajczyk, a Democrat from Annapolis, said someone went into the office area to look for him and on returning to the chamber asked whether a physician was present.
Paramedics treated him at the scene but "couldn't stabilize him," she said.
Roop was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, where he was pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m. Medical center spokeswoman Mary Lou Baker said his death resulted from a "sudden, massive heart attack."
Earlier in the evening, according to Samorajczyk, he had spoken in favor of a measure that was ultimately adopted.
Roop had appeared ill during his presentation, halting once for a drink of water, she said. When the measure was adopted, she said, "He was really happy."
Ropp, who was the father of two children, owned a service station on Route 32 near Fort George G. Meade.
"Cliff was a friend both in and out of politics," said County Executive Janet S. Owens (D). "He cared deeply for all Anne Arundel County citizens. Everyone here is feeling a profound sense of loss. We will miss Cliff very much."
In discussing his candidacy in 1998, Roop told the Annapolis Capital that "it just feels like the right thing to do."
"I've had fun working with the community in the past. It's just an extension of that," he said.