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U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey dies at 89

  |   June 3, 2013 at 12:25 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, the oldest member of the U.S. Senate, died Monday of viral pneumonia, his office said. He was 89.

Lautenberg, a Democrat, had missed several weeks of votes because of flu and bronchitis, The (Hackensack, N.J.) Record reported.

The senator announced in February he would not seek re-election in 2014.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama expressed their condolences. Obama, in a statement issued by the White House, lauded Lautenberg's commitment to the nation's health and safety.

"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg, a proud New Jerseyan who lived America's promise as a citizen, and fought to keep that promise alive as a senator," Obama said. "The son of working-class immigrants, Frank joined the Army during World War II, went to college on the GI Bill, and co-founded one of America's most successful companies. First elected to the Senate in 1982, he improved the lives of countless Americans with his commitment to our nation's health and safety, from improving our public transportation to protecting citizens from gun violence to ensuring that members of our military and their families get the care they deserve. "

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, will appoint a replacement to complete Lautenberg's term, The Hill reported.

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