LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas — The Liberty County deputy who was shot in the line of duty last year has died, announced Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader.

Deputy Richard Whitten died during physical therapy Monday. Early indications point to a heart attack, the sheriff said. 

Liberty County Sheriff's deputies rushed to the hospital to be with the family. Houston Police officers also arrived to provide support. Multiple agencies escorted Whitten's body to the Medical Examiner's office.

Deputy Whitten was shot in the neck by a murder suspect in May 2019.

KHOU 11 had just caught up with Deputy Whitten and his family on Friday.

RELATED: Liberty County deputy struggles to recover after being shot in the line of duty 

Deputy Whitten spent the past six months at TIRR Memorial Hermann trying to recover from his injuries. 

He was hoping to soon go home.

"He was improving and in good spirits some days ago," said Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader. "We, it was really a shock that this happened today. We were not expecting that." 

His best friend Humble Police officer Richard Moore remembered his friend outside Methodist Hospital. 

"Just unbelievable the loss of this particular man," said Moore. "Not only a deputy, good deputy, great deputy, but a great man. Loved his family. Loved this country. and sure did love this department too."

Sheriff Rader says he had just learned Whitten had been named Officer of the Year by the 100 Club. He had called him today to give him the good news. He never got a chance to let him know. Now Whitten will receive the award posthumously.

Funeral services are pending. Whitten is survived by his wife Kami and two adult children. He had been with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office for 4 years.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office released the following statement:

It is with deep sorrow that Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader announced that Deputy Richard Whitten passed away with what, at this time, appears to be a heart attack late this afternoon while he was in physical therapy at a Houston Medical Center facility. Last year Deputy Whitten was shot in the neck while attempting to apprehend an armed murder suspect who had just shot and killed a woman and then shot two males at a business location in mid-Liberty County.

ALSO POPULAR ON KHOU.COM