BAR HARBOR — Max Linn, one of the more colorful characters in Maine politics, died over the weekend.
Linn, 62, ran for U.S. Senate in 2020 as an independent and attracted attention for cutting up a mask during a televised debate and declaring “request denied” in refusing to answer questions.
One of his attorneys, Jeff Silverstein of Bangor, said Monday that he heard from someone reliable that Linn died of a heart attack late Saturday. Linn had long had a heart condition.
A woman who answered the phone Monday at Linn’s home sounded sad, declined to comment and referred a reporter to a different lawyer who could not be reached immediately.
Linn, 62, got into politics as a businessman in Florida, where he ran for Congress and for governor at different times, falling well short. At one point in the race, he made an emergency landing on a highway while piloting his plane to a campaign event.
He moved to Bar Harbor at least five years ago, making a stab at politics in 2018 before snagging a spot on the ballot in 2020 as an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump. He wound up with 1.6 percent of the vote in a four-way race won by incumbent Susan Collins, a Republican.
Linn didn’t slink away after his defeat. He was among those present outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 protesting Democrat Joe Biden’s election.
Back in Florida, though, he’d been a strident backer of President Barack Obama’s first run for office. Linn also ran for the U.S. House as a Democrat.
Linn had a reputation as a hothead. But in private conversation, he was far more reasonable than his deliberately outrageous public persona.
Silverstein said he was “an absolute pleasure” to work with the last few months on a court case brought by a former aide who accused Linn of pointing a gun at him after a dispute about a cryptocurrency investment.
Linn returned to Maine in December 2019 from a business trip to China so sick that he admitted he felt like he might not survive. He said in a conversation with a reporter that it’s possible he picked up the COVID-19 virus during a stop in Wuhan, where the virus allegedly originated about the same time.
But Linn said he was never tested and did not know whether he got COVID-19, a disease he tended to scoff at in public.
During his Senate campaign, Linn was an ardent foe of public health measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. At one point, he denounced Dr. Nirav Shah, who heads the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, calling him “the very doctor of death.”
Linn made a fortune as a financial planner in Florida before he jumped into the political arena, running for governor on the Reform Party ticket and then for Congress as a Democrat.
By the time he registered in Maine a decade ago, he was a Republican.
But party labels, he said, never meant too much to him. He was a political maverick who admitted he loved to shake things up.
Linn, who owned homes around the globe, had visited every U.S. national park and wound up choosing to live in Bar Harbor because he loved Acadia National Park more than anywhere else, said Matt McDonald, his former aide.
Linn leaves behind a longtime partner and a brother.