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Top lawyer for Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton dies

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- The chief lawyer in the office of Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton has died suddenly.

Dalton spokesman Schorr Johnson said that Cynthia O'Neal died Wednesday at Rex Hospital in Raleigh. Johnson said she was 37 years old.

Johnson said he didn't have any details on the cause of O'Neal's death, but said it was unexpected. He says he understands an autopsy will be performed.

Dalton said in a statement he and his staff are mourning the loss of a friend and colleague. He called O'Neal "a brilliant lawyer and an amazing person."

O'Neill previously served in private law practices and once clerked for state Supreme Court Justice Sarah Parker.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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