Keith Crisco, the Asheboro businessman and Clay Aiken’s challenger in the District 2 Democratic Primary died suddenly at his home today, according to confirmed reports from WRAL. He was 71.

Crisco was waiting for the final vote tallies in his too-close-to-call race against Aiken. Crisco was behind Aiken around 300 votes; his team was in the midst of canvassing county election boards and searching for remaining absentee votes. They were seeking legal advice in the case of a recount.

Initial reports indicate that Crisco suffered an unexpected fall in his home.

Update 9:04 PM:
Clay Aiken’s team has released this statement on Crisco’s death:

I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco’s death. Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose – to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor’s Cabinet – he never forgot where he came from.

He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him.

I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.