The Autauga County Sheriff's Office announced on Monday the sudden death of Sheriff Joe Sedinger.

"It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the unexpected passing of our beloved Autauga County Sheriff Joe Sedinger," the sheriff's office posted on Facebook. "Please continue to pray for not only his family but his blue family as well. He will be greatly missed by all."

The cause of death has not been released. Sedinger was re-elected in November and was set to start his third term as sheriff in January.

Alabama Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) responded to the death and remembered a time he worked alongside Sedinger.

"I am saddened by the passing of my friend and colleague Sheriff Joe Sedinger," Chambliss wrote. "I first met Joe in the early 90’s when we were both working on replacing the fuel tanks at the Sheriff’s office. He rose to be the top lawman in Autauga County. He was a Godly man and I look forward to seeing him again in Heaven worshiping our Lord and Savior. Well done Sheriff. Well done."

Multiple agencies, including the Covington County Sheriff, the Alabama Jail Association and the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse have also expressed condolences publicly.

Autauga County Coroner Buster Barber will take over as sheriff until the governor appoints a new one or calls a special election.

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