Update: Cummings' widow has released a statement praising her late husband of working "until his last breath" because he "believed in our democracy."
Statement from Rep Elijah Cummings widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, “He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity... I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly." #RIP— Edward Lawrence (@EdwardLawrence) October 17, 2019
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Elijah Cummings, the long-serving Democratic congressman and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has passed away at the age of 68. Cummings has been a major figure in Democratic politics during the Trump era. As chairman of the House oversight committee, he has been deeply involved into investigations into President Trump.
Recently, Cummings was the target of a spate of angry Trump tweets as the president raged about "rat-infested" Baltimore and Maryland's 7th district, which Cummings represents.
He is also a key figure in the House's impeachment investigation into Trump.
According to a statement released by his office, the Congressman died at approximately 2:45 am Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to "complications concerning longstanding health challenges."
Born and raised in Baltimore, Cummings served 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Spearker Pro Tempore, the speaker who presides in the speaker's absence. He was first elected to represent the 7th district in 1996, and was roughly halfway through his 12th term in office when he died. After growing up on the racially-charged streets of Baltimore in the 1950s and 60s, Cummings eventually won respect in Congress for having marched with Dr. King and become a major voice in the civil rights movement. He eventually became chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and was also recognized as Hillary Clinton's chief defender during the Benghazi hearings back in 2014 and 2015 as the ranking member on the select committee on Benghazi.