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Effingham County Sheriff David Mahon is serving as the acting coroner for the county following the death of Coroner Duane Guffey on Thursday, county Chairman James Niemann said in a statement.

Guffey became ill at home on Thursday afternoon and was taken to HSHS St. Anthony’s Hospital, where he was treated. He was stabilized and transferred to HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, where he suffered complications and died, Niemann said.

Mahon is the acting coroner until the county can carry out the process of appointing a new coroner, Niemann said.

Under that process, the county chairman must notify the chairman of the Republican Central Committee of the death in writing within three days. Because Guffey was a Republican, the chairman, Rob Arnold, will suggest a name to fill the vacancy, and the county board will vote on that person.

If the county board votes to accept the suggestion, that person will be sworn in as coroner until Dec. 1, 2018, Niemann said. Both parties can present nominees to run for the office in a special election to be held along with the general election in November. Nominations must be received by the Effingham County Clerk’s office by June 4.

“The Effingham County family wishes to extend its deepest condolences to Duane’s family and many friends,” Niemann said. “We appreciate his years of tireless service to the county and our communities. He will be greatly missed.”

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