ROCKVILLE – Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, who has represented Maryland’s 7th district in the House of Representatives since 1996, died on Oct. 17 at a hospice center in Baltimore.

Cummings’ office reported that the democratic congressman died at approximately 2:30 a.m. from “complications concerning long-standing health challenges” at Gilchrist Hospice Care. He was 68 years old.

“Congressman Cummings has dedicated his life of service to uplifting and empowering the people he is sworn to represent,” his office wrote in a statement.

Cummings began his political career in the Maryland House of Delegates where he served for 14 years. He was the first African American representative in state history that was named Speaker Pro Tem. In 1996, he won a special election to serve the 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Congressman Cummings was an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion and humility,” Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the Congressman’s wife, said. “He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem. It has been an honor to walk by his side on this incredible journey. I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly.”

In his role as a representative for the 7th district, Cummings served as the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is one of the panels involved in the recent impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. He was also a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

In recent years, Cummings garnered national attention by sparring with Trump. Last summer, the president tweeted about Cummings and the 7th district, calling the district, which is majority African American, a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess.”

Cummings responded to Trump stating that it was his “constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

Cummings was born and raised in Baltimore and attended Howard University where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science. He also attended the University of Maryland School of Law. According to his office, Cummings received 13 honorary doctoral degrees from universities around that nation over the years.

Cummings leaves behind his wife and a daughter.

(Courtesy title photo by AFGE)

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