U.S. Rep. Donald Payne dead at 77

donald-payne-obit.jpgU.S. House of Representatives Congressman Donald M. Payne, a Democrat from New Jersey, has passed away at the age of 77, his Congressional office said in a statement Tuesday (March 6). The cause was complications from colon cancer, according to the statement. Payne had announced last month about his cancer diagnosis.

"New Jersey has lost a noble public servant, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Rep. Payne have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor," says Payne's office representatives.

Payne was in the middle of his 12th term in the House, having served just over 23 years. During that time, he served on the Education and Workforce and Foreign Affairs committees. He was also the first African-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey.

President Obama said in a statement that Payne "lived a full and meaningful life" and "will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Payne is preceded in death by his wife and survived by three children.

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