Senator Frank Lautenberg dies at age 89

Updated
 
File Photo: Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 14, 2010.
File Photo: Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 14, 2010.
: Drew Angerer/AP Photo

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D, passed away on Monday after struggling with health issues in recent months.

NBC News confirmed that the 89-year-old senator—the oldest member of the chamber—passed away from viral pneumonia that had sidelined him from the Senate for much of this year.

Lautenberg was first elected to the Senate in 1982, and served into that capacity through 2001, when he initially retired. State Democrats beckoned him back into public life, though, in 2002 following the withdrawal of their candidate during a competitive race.

Though Lautenberg missed a number of votes over the past few months due to illness, he did return to Washington for several high-profile votes. He made the trip to the Capitol in April for the Senate’s vote on legislation to strengthen gun control laws, and on May 16, he participated in a committee vote to approve President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the EPA.

The longtime senator was the last remaining member of the Senate to have served in the military during World War II, following the retirement earlier this year of Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and the death of Sen. Daniel Iouye, D-Hawaii.

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Senator Frank Lautenberg dies at age 89

Updated