Terry Sampson, known as "Samp" to those who worked with him, died Saturday at Duke Regional Hospital.
Sampson, 60, worked for the sheriff's office for 28 years, retiring in 2018, before returning part-time last year to work on background checks for recruits.
Colleagues called Sampson a bright light, someone who brought energy and positivity to his job.
"It’s just hard. It’s just hard. It is," said Diane Edwards, another former sheriff's office employee. "I’m still trying to cope with it. It’s shocking, you know. It’s shocking."
A spokeswoman said the sheriff's office couldn't release Sampson's cause of death for privacy reasons.
"[He was] such a very good guy, friendly guy – his smile, his wisdom," Edwards said. "He was funny. He was kind of like a comedian guy, but he took his work seriously. ... His calling could’ve been comedian. He was just so full of life, full of life.
Funeral arrangements for Sampson haven't been set.