(CNN) - Rep. Donald M. Payne, a Democrat from New Jersey, has died, his Congressional office said in a statement Tuesday. He was 77.
Payne was serving his twelfth term in the U.S. Congress, making him one of the longest-serving members of New Jersey's congressional delegation. In its statement, Payne's office said the congressman died of complications from colon cancer. Payne announced to his constituents in February he was battling the disease.
"New Jersey has lost a noble public servant, and the world has lost an amazing human being," Payne's office wrote. "Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Rep. Payne have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor."
In a statement, President Barack Obama said Payne "lived a full and meaningful life."
"Don will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time," Obama's statement read.
Payne was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1934, according to a biography on his Congressional website. He was the first African-American to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey, and served as the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a non-profit educational group.
In the House, Payne served on the Education and Workforce and Foreign Affairs committees. Among his achievements was founding the Malaria Caucus with former first lady Laura Bush, and helping secure funding to battle other diseases afflicting countries in Africa.
He was also recognized for his support of legislation promoting peace in Northern Ireland, and for passing a resolution declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
He graduated from Seton Hall University, and held honorary degrees from a number of colleges and universities. Payne's biography notes he is a widower and a father of three.
Best Wishes to his family. Thanks to him and them for his service to our country in a role that is certainly not popular. Rest In Peace.
Rest in Peace Rep. Payne.
That's a heck of a story. Chock full of information.
I didn't know him, but hopefully he passed away peacefully.
Prayers to his family.
RIP Donald Payne – Does Gov Christy get to appoint his temp replacement?
RIP – Rep. Payne.
You now know the truth –
I hope you made all the right decisions and were honest to your fellow man.
Best to your family and friends.
I want to apologize on the behalf of Mr. Walsh who wrote this masterpiece one-liner reporting. He broke down in tears from grief and couldn't continue writing another sentence to tell us about the cause or any other details.
Peace be with him as he journeys on through the great divide.
A truly distinguished and gracious man. A loss to NJ and the US Congress. Condolences to his family and loved ones.
May his soul be forever eternal in the stars, so that he may watch over the country he served with dignity and pride.
May God bless his family and and be pleased with his work here on earth.
No matter the party affiliation. RIP dude
Nice guy, stayed in Congress far too long.
shoot. when I saw this out of my eye, I thought it was Donald RUMSFELD!
sympathies to his children Max and Ima.
RIP, he's earned his rest.
R.I.P. and job well done my good man.
Synpathies to his family. He was well-liked and worked hard for the betterment of ALL people in his state. Rest in Peace, Sir.
RIP. Hope the comments are respectful for someone who devoted his life to serving.