KENNEBUNK, Maine — A family man. A brilliant man who understood politics and so much more. A Texan with a passion for Maine.

Ed Legg was all those things, friends said Monday, and the state of Maine and the Kennebunk community are poorer for having lost him.

Legg died suddenly at home on Sunday, after feeling unwell. He was 71.

A Coast Star columnist and the former vice president of the University of New England, Legg was a Texan who moved his wife, Ann, and their four children to Kennebunk in the 1990s.

“I first knew him as a member [of the Kennebunk High School athletic] boosters,” said former KHS teacher and Democratic state representative Chris Babbidge.

Later, when Babbidge decided not to run for re-election to the state legislature in 2008, Legg was the first one he called, he said.

Legg went on to win the seat, unopposed, serving in the 124th Legislature.

“He was a leader,” Babbidge said. “Always on task, and a very worthy legislator.”

Former state representative Gary Connor said Legg’s passion for knowledge made him a great legislator and mentor.

“Serving with Ed in the Maine House was an incredible honor, but working alongside him was an amazing opportunity,” he said. “Ed was a brilliant man and his loss creates an immense void for his family and friends, and also the entire state of Maine — he was a tireless advocate for better tomorrows. My heart goes to his wife Ann.”

Legg lost his re-election bid in 2010, and another bid in 2012.

Legg was an educated man, receiving his bachelor’s degree in American history from Harvard University in 1965 and his law degree from the University of Texas in 1972.

His professional life included serving as development director at The Nature Conservancy, and director of planned giving at Ducks Unlimited, before coming to UNE in 2001.

Gubernatorial candidate and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud remembered Legg’s many years of service as well.

“Ed Legg was a good man who devoted his life to serving Mainers in his own community and all across the state,” Michaud said. “He touched many lives and tirelessly advocated for causes that helped Mainers through his time in the state House of Representatives, as a vice president with the University of New England and during his time at The Nature Conservancy. My thoughts are with the Legg family during this difficult time.”

The UNE community was also mourning, with President Danielle Ripich sending an email to the staff reading:

“I am deeply saddened to share the news that former University of New England Board member, leader, and dear friend Ed Legg passed away suddenly yesterday at his home in Kennebunk.

“Ed served on the University of New England Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2001 and co-chaired the UNEqualed Vision Capital Campaign, the first major capital campaign after UNE’s merger with Westbrook College. He continued to serve the university during a critical period of growth, moving to the administrative leadership role of Vice President for University Relations from 2001 through 2006.

“After leaving UNE at the end of 2006, Ed successfully campaigned and then served in the Maine state Legislature, where he was a passionate advocate for education, as well as a personal champion for the University of New England. He remained a close friend and supporter until the end. We will miss Ed’s big-as-Texas personality, generous spirit and laughter that filled every room fortunate enough to have him in it. The university extends our deepest condolences to Ed’s beloved wife, Ann, and their four children.”

Friend and neighbor Diane Denk said Monday that Legg and his wife, Ann, loved to travel, and were like teenagers, they were so much in love.

“They are good, good, good people,” she said, adding that their whole neighborhood was “so, so sad” Monday.

She said Legg may have had a Texan drawl, but he was a global thinker with a strong feeling for his adopted state.

“He loved Maine,” she said. “He was a terrific guy — so brilliant.”

That brilliance extended to his performance in the Legislature, his column for the Star and his continuing role as a part of the local political scene.

“He left a legacy of great friends,” she said, adding that no one will ever replace him. “Those are big Texas shoes to fill.”