State Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) passed away Monday after collapsing at a House Republican caucus leadership retreat in north Georgia, according to a letter sent to House members from Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) Tuesday morning.

"At this time of heartbreak, we take solace in the fact that our brother is now with our Lord Jesus Christ," Ralston wrote. "We lift up his wife Deidra and his beloved family. We pray for God's mercies and comfort for them."

Powell served in the Georgia House of Representatives for a decade, serving most recently as chair of the powerful House Rules Committee and as a member of the Appropriations, Ways and Means, Governmental Affairs, Judiciary and Judiciary Non-Civil committees.

The southwest Georgia attorney was a staunch advocate for rural Georgia, serving as co-chair of the House Rural Development Council and helped guide the chamber's tax policies through work on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

In 2016, Powell was named to Georgia Trend's "100 Most Influential Georgians" list for his work as chairman of that committee, which he said at the time made him humbled and proud.

"As a state representative, I am a public servant, and to be recognized for positively impacting the lives of Georgians is truly a great honor,” Powell said in a 2016 press release.

Gov. Brian Kemp called his passing "devestating to Georgia."

"Chairman Powell was a trusted leader and compassionate public servant whose work positively impacted countless people’s lives over the years," Kemp said on Twitter. "The Kemp family asks everyone to lift up Jay’s loved ones, friends, and fellow legislators in prayer as they try to grapple with this tragedy."