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Rep. Elijah Cummings’ death comes after procedure kept him away from office for weeks

Many are mourning the passing of Baltimore native Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died at the age of 68 early Thursday morning.  

The Maryland Democrat died at Gilchrist Hospice Care, which is affiliated with Johns Hopkins Hospital, around 2:30 a.m. EDT from “complications concerning longstanding health challenges,” his office confirmed in a statement.

He underwent a medical procedure in September that caused him to miss a high-profile hearing on Washington, D.C., statehood and kept him away from the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which he chairs.

In a statement to the Baltimore Sun, Cummings initially predicted he would be back after a week, then extended that timeline when the newspaper asked a week later.

“I am recovering following my medical procedure and remain in constant communication with my staff and my colleagues in the Congress,” Cummings said in a statement to the paper Sept. 30. “My doctors anticipate that I will be returning to Washington, D.C., when the House comes back into session in two weeks.”

His office didn’t immediately respond to a request from USA TODAY about the procedure in September.

The congressman has had health problems in recent years, causing him to use a wheelchair and a walker.

According to the Baltimore Sun, he underwent a minimally invasive heart procedure in 2017 that led to an infection. He was also hospitalized for a knee infection.

His wife Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, said in a statement Thursday that her husband was an honorable man who served his district with “dignity, integrity, compassion and humility.”

“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,” she said.

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