CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP/CBS4) – A search team found the body of Colorado Sen. Mark Udall’s brother in western Wyoming’s Wind River Range on Wednesday after he didn’t return from a solo backpacking trip, the family said.
James “Randy” Udall, 61, had left June 20 for the weeklong trek, setting off from a trailhead 10 miles northwest of Pinedale. He was due back a week ago.
An aerial team spotted Udall’s body on its side, in open, rolling terrain Wednesday afternoon, Sublette County sheriff’s officials said. The body was taken to Pinedale.
Mark Udall’s office released a statement from the family saying that while an autopsy is forthcoming, it appears his brother died of natural causes.
“Randy left this earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world,” the family said.
He had told his wife and indicated on a sign-in sheet at the trailhead that he planned to head for the scenic Titcomb Basin.
The family said Wednesday it appeared he was on the obscure, off-trail route that he had proposed to his family.
“The entire Udall family is touched beyond words by the tremendous outpouring of support from people around the country. Randy’s passing is a reminder to all of us to live every day to its fullest, just as he did,” they said.
Randy Udall was an environmentalist and energy efficiency advocate whose family has been active in politics.
New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall is a cousin. His uncle, Stewart Udall, was interior secretary in the 1960s. His father was the late U.S. Rep. Morris “Mo” Udall of Arizona.
Randy Udall helped found the nonprofit Community Office for Resource Energy Efficiency, which promotes the use of renewable energy in the Aspen, Colo., area.
Udall Family Statement
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Randy. Randy’s body was discovered today by the heroic search and rescue team that worked for days to locate him in a remote area of the Wind River Range of Wyoming. Our family is extremely grateful to Sublette County Sheriff Dave Lankford, his staff, Tip Top Search and Rescue, the United States Forest Service, Wyoming Air National Guard, and all others involved for their tireless efforts over the past several days. Although an autopsy is forthcoming, it appears he died of natural causes.
“Randy left this earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world. He appeared to be on the obscure, off-trail route that he had proposed to his family. The entire Udall family is touched beyond words by the tremendous outpouring of support from people around the country. Randy’s passing is a reminder to all of us to live every day to its fullest, just as he did.”
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