Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), the Senate’s oldest member and longtime LGBT ally, has died at 89, North Jersey reports:
The oldest member of the Senate, Lautenberg had struggled with health problems since late last year, when he missed several weeks of votes because of what he said was flu and bronchitis.
The death of Lautenberg, a Democrat who was the longest-serving senator in New Jersey history, creates a vacancy that Governor Christie, a Republican, will fill.
Lautenberg returned to Washington in February and announced he would not seek re-election in 2014, but hoped to complete a series of accomplishments before his term ended.
Lautenberg was the the author of the Ryan White Care Act, which is the largest federally-funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS. He had a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign.