Colorado Senator Mark Udall said today that his brother, whose body was found in a remote area of Wyoming, died “doing what he love most,” hiking in his favorite mountain range.
James “Randy” Udall, 61, an environmental and energy activist, was on a solo backpacking trip in the Wind River Range. A search was launched when he did not return on time.
According to a statement from the Udall family, Randy Udall had been hiking on an obscure, off-trail route and appeared to have died of natural causes.
“Randy left this Earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world,” the statement said. “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.”
A search and rescue helicopter spotted Udall’s body on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Sublette County Sheriff’s office. Foul play is not suspected, authorities said.
Udall was married and has three grown children and was a long-time proponent of renewable energy in Colorado. He installed solar panels on his home and was interviewed as part of this 2006 “Nightline” story about the city of Aspen and the effort to cut carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
“He was such a brilliant, passionate, and articulate advocate for everything that matters,” said friend Susan Joy Hassol, who worked with Udall on climate and environmental issues for many years.
“He deeply understood our global energy system and climate system and the intimate relationship between the two. He worked from the local to the global scale to help address the greatest challenge of our time. It’s a devastating loss for the world and for those of us who knew and loved him.”