Loretta Fuddy, a Hawaiian health official who in 2011 was briefly in the national spotlight when she verified the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate and authorized the release of information about it, died Wednesday in the crash of a small plane off the island of Molokai.
USA Today writes that "the plane, with a pilot and eight passengers aboard, went down Wednesday in the water off the Hawaiian island of Molokai, the Maui Fire Department said." The others on board survived.
"Fuddy hit the headlines two years ago when she approved a waiver request allowing Obama to access certified copies of his birth certificate, signed by the delivery doctor, Obama's mother and the local registrar. His mother, then 18, signed her name (Stanley) Ann Dunham Obama.
"So-called 'birthers' opposed to Obama including real estate mogul Donald Trump had long questioned why Obama hadn't ensured the long form was released."
With the release of the "long-form birth certificate," Obama appeared in the White House briefing room to say to birthers and anyone else who had doubts that "we do not have time for this kind of silliness."
"We've got some enormous challenges out there" and the nation won't be able to confront them if it gets distracted by "sideshows and carnival barkers," Obama said.
Fuddy, 65, was director of Hawaii's Health Department.
"My heart is sick because Loretta Fuddy was truly devoted to her job, and her job as director of health was to make sure all the rest of us was healthy," state Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat and chairman of his chamber's committee on health, tells Hawaii's KITV News.