Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings, the longest-serving member of Florida's congressional delegation, has died, according to CNN. The news outlet received confirmation from Hastings' passing from his chief of staff Lale M. Morrison on Tuesday (April 6). The representative was 84.
Hastings first began his time in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993 and was a member of the House Rules Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus. According to CNN, the Florida native said he was being treated for pancreatic cancer but planned to remain in Congress during the treatment.
The politician became the Sunshine State's first Black federal judge in 1979 via an appointment from then-President Jimmy Carter. His time in this position also saw some controversy, particularly when he was impeached by the House in 1989 on charges including conspiracy and perjury.
Before his death, Hastings was the dean and co-chairman of the Florida congressional delegation, according to the biography on his congressional website. He was also a civil rights activist, from getting jailed for dozens of demonstrations and sit-ins to fighting against school segregation and racism as a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, the Miami Herald wrote.
"Congressman Alcee Hastings was my friend," Harrison tweeted. "I’m heartbroken to hear this news! He was passionate, emotional, a straight & no chaser type of Member. He loved his constituents & he took time to teach young staffers from the bumps in life he experienced. #RIPAlcee you’ll be missed!"
Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney called Hastings a "trailblazer who selflessly dedicated his life to serving the people of South Florida. A champion in the movement for civil rights, he led the fight to desegregate schools in South Florida."
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