— The director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service died Saturday afternoon after suffering an apparent heart attack at a Colorado ski resort, NBC News reported.
Sam Hamilton, 54, was pronounced dead at 1:16 p.m. after being transported off the mountain at Keystone Ski Area. Hamilton had been reported having chest pains, according to the Summit County coroner.
Hamilton's circumstances were consistent with an underlying heart-related medical condition, the coroner said.
Hamilton, who was sworn in as the agency's 15th director in September, was on a ski trip with friends, NBC News reported.
"Sam was a friend, a visionary, and a professional whose years of service and passionate dedication to his work have left an indelible mark on the lands and wildlife we cherish," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a statement. "His forward-thinking approach to conservation — including his view that we must think beyond boundaries at the landscape-scale — will continue to shape our nation's stewardship for years to come."
Hamilton guided the Interior Department’s restoration work in the Everglades. He also oversaw recovery and restoration efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Hamilton is survived by his wife, Becky; sons, Sam Jr. and Clay; and a grandson, Davis. They all live in Atlanta.