New Jersey Rep. Payne dies
March 6th, 2012
09:14 AM ET
10 years ago

New Jersey Rep. Payne dies

(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.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. maxine

    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.

    March 6, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  2. republican die hard


    March 6, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. J

    Rest in Peace Rep. Payne.

    March 6, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. Bob

    That's a heck of a story. Chock full of information.

    March 6, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)


    March 6, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Duane

    I didn't know him, but hopefully he passed away peacefully.

    March 6, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. johnsonj3

    Prayers to his family.

    March 6, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. GoldenGod

    RIP Donald Payne – Does Gov Christy get to appoint his temp replacement?

    March 6, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Will O. W.

    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.

    March 6, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. zulux

    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.

    March 6, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. Alfred

    Peace be with him as he journeys on through the great divide.

    March 6, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. greenfish

    A truly distinguished and gracious man. A loss to NJ and the US Congress. Condolences to his family and loved ones.

    March 6, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Alfred

    May his soul be forever eternal in the stars, so that he may watch over the country he served with dignity and pride.

    March 6, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. commonsense

    May God bless his family and and be pleased with his work here on earth.

    March 6, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. Charles

    No matter the party affiliation. RIP dude

    March 6, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. TwM

    Nice guy, stayed in Congress far too long.

    March 6, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. terry

    shoot. when I saw this out of my eye, I thought it was Donald RUMSFELD!

    March 6, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Fair is Fair


    March 6, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. achepotle

    sympathies to his children Max and Ima.

    March 6, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. American Teenager

    RIP, he's earned his rest.

    March 6, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. ivan

    R.I.P. and job well done my good man.

    March 6, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. GI Joe.

    Synpathies to his family. He was well-liked and worked hard for the betterment of ALL people in his state. Rest in Peace, Sir.

    March 6, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    RIP. Hope the comments are respectful for someone who devoted his life to serving.

    March 6, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |