Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who represented parts of Baltimore, died unexpectedly Thursday morning at age 68, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Cummings died at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to “complications from longstanding health challenges,” according to a statement from his office.
The longtime civil rights activist and chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has often sparred with President Donald Trump; the 23-year congressman led multiple investigations of the president.
Cummings was born to a family of Southern sharecroppers and Baptist preachers and grew up in the racially fractured Baltimore of the 1950s and 1960s. According to The Washington Post, at 11, he helped integrate a local swimming pool while being attacked with bottles and rocks. The Post’s obit also notes that he was inspired to become a lawyer by the TV show Perry Mason.
Due to various health issues, he has missed some hearings. According to the Sun, he hasn’t participated in a roll call since September 11.
Cummings was a lawyer and then a judge; he later served as a member of the Maryland state House of Delegates from 1983 to 1996, serving as speaker pro tempore from 1995 to 1996. He was elected to Congress in a 1996 special election.