Pendleton saddle maker Randy Severe, a longtime member and former president of the Pendleton Round Up board of directors, has died of complications from COVID-19.

He was 70 years old.

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He started feeling ill shortly after the Round Up ended in mid-September, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sept. 27, according to family friends. He spent nearly two months on a ventilator in a Portland hospital, and died Sunday morning.

Severe built more than 200 saddles for Pendleton Round Up champions, and was a highly regarded saddle maker.

In a tribute posted to the event’s Facebook page Monday night, Round Up officials said Pendleton has “truly lost a legend.”

Related: Public health emergency declared after spike in COVID cases linked to Pendleton Round-Up

A public health emergency was declared in Umatilla County after a COVID-19 surge tied to the 2021 Pendleton Round Up. The East Oregonian reported that at least 130 cases were connected to the event.

Umatilla County’s vaccination rate has remained among the lowest in the state. As of this week, less than 55% of residents in the county have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Statewide, that number is more than 78%.

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