Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, died at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Thursday morning from “complications concerning longstanding health issues,” according to a statement from spokeswoman Trudy Perkins. He was 68.
— Anne Kramer WBAL (@AnneKramerWBAL) October 17, 2019
Cummings was an esteemed House veteran with 23 years of service and also served as the House Committee on Oversight and Reform chairman. He was an instrumental player in President Trump’s impeachment inquiry and had been targeted by the president for being an ardent critic of his administration and policies.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Cummings was the son of sharecroppers who moved to Baltimore in the late 1940s. The humble public servant was a Phi Beta Kappa honoree while he attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. He graduated with a degree in political science. Cummings went on to attend the University of Maryland School of Law and passed the bar in 1976.
He was also a former member of the Congressional Black Caucus and was a dedicated civil rights advocate who fought with tenacity and integrity.
Because of his illness, Cummings had not actively attended roll call on Capitol Hill since mid-September. Though he was not physically present, he remained active on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and even sent subpoenas to the White House in October regarding the impeachment inquiry.
“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 out problem,” Maryland Democratic Party Chair and his widow, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, said in a statement.
— WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore (@wbaltv11) October 17, 2019
“In the House, Elijah was our North Star. He was a leader of towering character and integrity, whose stirring voice and steadfast values pushed the Congress and country to rise always to a higher purpose,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a heartfelt statement.
“In the Congress, we will miss his wisdom, his warm friendship and his great humanity. In Baltimore, we will miss our champion,” she said.
As American flags flew at half-staff to honor Cummings, the shock of his death and the loss of the servant leader could be felt across social media.
This one has broken me.
I am broken. @RepCummings was a lion. A fierce warrior for justice. He was principled and kind. His spirit was pure & his moral compass was true. He will be GREATLY missed.
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) October 17, 2019
Today, I could care less what is going on elsewhere in politics. Those distractions can wait for a day.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) October 17, 2019
Heartbroken this morning at the loss of @RepCummings.
As a Trauma Surgeon in Baltimore, It’s clear to me how much he was part of the fabric that made up this community.
Thank you for your service to Maryland and the Nation.
— Joseph Sakran (@JosephSakran) October 17, 2019