REST IN PEACE: Dem Rep. Elijah Cummings Has Died At 68, His Office Announces

Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings died in the early hours of Thursday morning due to unspecified health complications, his office announced. He was 68.

Cummings, who represented part of Baltimore, is a veteran of the legislative chamber having served since 1996.

A passionate leader, Cummings fought tirelessly for civil rights and “for the poor in his black-majority district,” the Associated Press reports.

ABC News reports:

His office announced that he passed away at approximately 2:45 a.m. Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges.

He had an unspecified medical procedure on Sept. 19, causing him to miss one of his committee’s hearings. His office said at the end of September that they anticipated Cummings would be back at work when Congress returned to session.

Here’s more on Cummings, from the Associated Press:

Cummings’ long career spanned decades in Maryland politics. He rose through the ranks of the Maryland House of Delegates before winning his congressional seat in a special election in 1996 to replace former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who left the seat to lead the NAACP.

Cummings was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2008. By 2016, Cummings was the senior Democrat on the House Benghazi Committee, which he said was “nothing more than a taxpayer-funded effort to bring harm to Hillary Clinton’s campaign” for president.

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Throughout his career, Cummings used his fiery voice to highlight the struggles and needs of inner-city residents. He was a firm believer in some much-debated approaches to help the poor and addicted, such as needle exchange programs as a way to reduce the spread of AIDS.

A key figure in the Trump impeachment inquiry , Cummings had been hoping to return to Congress after a medical procedure he said would only keep him away for a week. His statement then didn’t detail the procedure. He had previously been treated for heart and knee issues.

Dozens of people responded to the death online where they expressed their condolences to the Cummings family or memories they had in working alongside Cummings.

President Trump shared his condolences and ordered flags in Washington D.C. and around the country to be lowered to half-staff.

“My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see first hand the strength, passion, and wisdom of this highly respected political leader,” Trump tweeted. “His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!”

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who serves as a member of Congress, tweeted: “Very sad news this morning.”

“My heart goes out to the Cummings family during this difficult time,” she added. “Elijah Cummings dedicated his life to service and will truly be missed.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Cummings served as the Democratic “North Star.”

“He was a leader of towering character and integrity, whose stirring voice and steadfast values pushed the Congress and country to rise always to a higher purpose,” the Democrat continued.

In a tweet, Republican Whip Steve Scalise said he was “very sad to learn that my colleague Rep. Elijah Cummings has passed away.”

“He leaves a legacy as a determined public servant and strong fighter for civil rights,” he also said, noting he and his wife “are sending our prayers to his wife Maya and his three kids as they mourn this deep loss.”

Republican Congressman Thomas Massie described Cummings as “an honorable man who came from humble beginnings and earned respect from both sides of the aisle.”

“We will miss him in Congress. May he Rest In Peace,” he continued.

Other congressional members tweeted: