Democratic New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg passed away this morning of viral pneumonia. He was 89.
Lautenberg, the Senate's oldest member and New Jersey's longest-serving senator, had announced earlier this year that he would not stand for re-election in 2014. He had retired once before, in 2001, before running again in 2003, but suffered from health problems recently.
Born in Paterson to Polish and Russian Jewish immigrants, Lautenberg served in the Army Signal Corps in World War II. (He was the last WWII veteran in the Senate.) After receiving a degree from Columbia Business School he joined Automatic Data Processing, quickly working his way up to become its CEO in 1952, a position he held for 30 years.
Lautenberg was elected to the Senate in 1982. Among his legislative accomplishments, Lautenberg wrote the law that banned smoking on domestic flights, and fought for raising the drinking age to 21. He wrote the the Ryan White Care Act, which provides funds for people suffering from AIDS and H.I.V.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will name his replacement.