Updated Apr 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. dead at 65 after "cardiac episode"

Rep. Donald Payne Jr., wearing a blue suit, bowtie and sunglasses, speaking at a podium outside.

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fight Colorectal Cancer.

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) died on Wednesday after what his office described as a "cardiac episode" that left him hospitalized and absent from Congress.

What they're saying: Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement he is "deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, and a steadfast champion for the people of New Jersey, Congressman Donald Payne Jr."

  • "With his signature bowtie, big heart, and tenacious spirit, Donald embodied the very best of public service," Murphy added.
  • The New Jersey Globe was the first to report the news of Payne's death.

The latest: Payne's office said in a statement confirming his death that he "experienced a physical accident at home" on April 6 and was hospitalized.

  • During treatment, Payne experienced complications from diabetes and high blood pressure that "led to subsequent cardiorespiratory arrest," the statement said.
  • "Despite the dedicated efforts of the medical staff to treat him and improve his health, they were unable to prevent his passing unfortunately."

The backdrop: Payne's office announced on April 9th that he was admitted to the hospital that weekend after suffering a "cardiac episode based on complications from his diabetes."

  • At the time, his office said he was "recovering ... as doctors conduct routine exams," adding that his prognosis was "good" and that he was "expected to make a full recovery."
  • A New Jersey Globe report on April 17 revealed Payne remained unconscious 11 days after his heart attack.
  • Payne's office, in a statement later that day, acknowledged he remained hospitalized but said he was in "stable condition," adding, "While we hope for a full recovery, we ask everyone to keep him in your prayers."

Context: A former Newark city councilman, Payne was elected to Congress in 2012 in a special election to replace his father, Donald M. Payne, who was the first Black member of Congress from New Jersey.

  • An ally of President Biden, Payne served on the Homeland Security and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional information from Payne's office about his hospitalization.

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