Congressman Donald Payne Jr. Dead at 65: 'A Steadfast Champion for the People of New Jersey'

The Democratic representative was elected to Congress in 2012, succeeding his late father

<p>Paul Morigi/Getty</p> U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr.

Paul Morigi/Getty

U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr.

Donald Payne Jr., the U.S. representative for New Jersey's 10th Congressional District, died in office on Wednesday, April 24, at the age of 65.

The Democratic congressman suffered a "cardiac episode" on April 6 from complications with diabetes. According to the New Jersey Globe, Payne had been unconscious and on a ventilator since.

"Tammy and I are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of our friend, and a steadfast champion for the people of New Jersey, Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wrote in a statement announcing his death. "With his signature bowtie, big heart, and tenacious spirit, Donald embodied the very best of public service."

Murphy continued, "Donald's love will live on in the homes of his neighbors in Newark, who now have access to safe drinking water, and in the good-paying jobs he helped create for his brothers and sisters in labor. And it will live on in his wife Beatrice, and their three children, Donald III, Jack, and Yvonne, who were the pride of his life."

Payne was elected to Congress in 2012 to succeed his father, New Jersey Rep. Donald M. Payne, who died in office of colon cancer at the age of 77. He represented the cities of Newark and Orange.

Prior to joining the House of Representatives, Payne served as president of the Newark City Council and on the Essex County Board of Freeholders.

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