News broke this morning that Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) passed away. CNN anchors on Early Start shared the devastating discovery, saying that the lifetime public servant lost his life to complications with a longstanding heart issue at 2:45 a.m. ET on Thursday morning. He was 68 years old.
Cummings represented Maryland’s 7th congressional district which includes a large portion of the city of Baltimore, after spending decades in Maryland politics. He also chaired the Oversight and Reform Committee and served as the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 108th United States Congress.
In recent months, the son of sharecroppers was a key figure in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. He also was an outspoken critic of Trump’s family members serving in the White House and launched a probe into the Commander-in-Chief’s governmental dealings. The two went toe-to-toe after Trump lashed out at him and went after his city.
Throughout his time on Capitol Hill, Cummings notably took up the cause to lower prescription drugs and worked to improve the conditions of the inner-city neighborhood he hailed from.
In 2015, Cummings made headlines following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Tearing up on a CNN interview with New Day, he said “ They feel as though nobody hears them,” referring to protestors who held demonstrations after Gray’s polarizing murder. “And I think we’re finally getting to hear them, but I’m telling you, Baltimore can happen anywhere.”
“You’ve got people looking at us right now saying, ‘That will never happen in my community.’ But yes, it will,” Cummings tearfully insisted. “But you’ve got to have people that listen, and you’ve got to begin to act on it.”
White House correspondent and CNN political analyst April Ryan called into Early Start to add that the man who was beloved on both sides of the aisle was a friend to many in Washington. She admitted that the news of Cummings passing came as a shock to her. “I literally opened my eyes this morning and just screamed,” Ryan said before disclosing that Cummings has had multiple complications from a heart issue.
“I was looking for him the week of CBC and he took ill again around that time. We haven’t really seen him since.”
Ryan added that many of his friends were “quietly concerned” about the 68-year-old because he wasn’t as visible in the community and he was declining engagements, but she ran into someone “very close” to the Congressman last week and they told her that he was starting to “sound like himself again.” That he was “on the mend.”
“It’s a shock for Baltimore. I am in shock.” Ryan concluded.
The political legend leaves behind his wife Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and three children.