Former Lugar aide Mark Helmke dies at 62

Mark Helmke. (WANE Photo, file)

ANGOLA, Ind. (AP) — Mark Helmke, a longtime aide to former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, has died at age 62.

Helmke was found dead Saturday at his home near the northeastern Indiana city of Angola, where he was a faculty member at Trine University.

Walter Helmke tells The Herald Republican that his son’s death was a shock. Former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke tells The Indianapolis Star that his brother was sick with bronchitis a few days earlier.

Mark Helmke worked for Lugar during much of the Republican’s six Senate terms, including as a spokesman and senior aide. Lugar says in a statement that Helmke “contributed compelling communications and diplomatic savvy” in the fights against apartheid in South Africa, for democracy in Latin America and to create a new government in post-Soviet Ukraine.

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