This is an archived article that was published on in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Former House Speaker Becky Lockhart is critically ill with an unspecified illness, less than a week after the end of her term in the House, according to a statement from her family.

"The family has asked what we respect their privacy and refrain from calling, emailing or sending anything to Becky," the Lockhart family said in a statement emailed to legislators and other legislative staff Tuesday evening.

"Your prayers and positive thoughts on behalf of Becky would be very much appreciated as she and her family face this personal challenge," the statement said.

Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, who is acting as the family's spokesman, declined to say anything further about her condition.

Lockhart, 46, served 16 years in the Legislature, the last four as House Speaker, the first woman in state history to hold the position. She specialized in transportation issues and during her last year in office floated a $300 million education technology initiative that was met with some skepticism by leaders in the Senate and a veto threat from Gov. Gary Herbert.

During her tenure as House Speaker, she shepherded the body through battles over health care and public lands, and an investigation that could have led to the impeachment of the state's attorney general.

She was frequently mentioned as a possible 2016 challenger to Herbert and had not ruled out the possibility of running.

During an interview with The Tribune last month, she said she hadn't decided what she would do after her term in office was up. She had sought the position of State Superintendent of public schools, but did not make the list of finalists. A nurse before she joined the Legislature, Lockhart said she was considering going back to school to get a graduate degree in a public policy area and planned to stay involved in various issues, including women in leadership.

Lockhart and her husband, Stan, a technology industry lobbyist and key player in the state's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math initiative, have three children.

House Speaker-elect Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said he was "shocked and saddened" to hear about Lockhart's condition. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family," Hughes said late Tuesday. "Please respect their request for privacy during this difficult time."

Incoming House Majority Leader Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, said he thinks "extremely highly of Speaker Lockhart.

"I and my family will certainly be praying for Speaker Lockhart and are hoping and praying for the best," he said.

Twitter: @RobertGehrke