Elijah Cummings died due to complications from “longstanding health challenges,” his office confirmed on Oct. 17. He was 68 years old. Cummings passed away during the early hours of Oct. 17, and was at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Baltimore at the time of his death. The politician underwent a medical procedure in September, and was expected to be back at work earlier this week. However, he did not return to his office as planned, according to the Baltimore Sun. Here’s more to know about Elijah Cummings:
1. When did he become a member of the House of Representatives? Cummings served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Maryland’s 7th congressional district. He won his seat in 1996 after Kweisi Mfume vacated the seat to become the president of the NAACP. Cummings defeated his opponent, Kenneth Kondner, in the election. After that, he was re-elected 11 more times. He was also the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
2. He was not a fan of Donald Trump. “He is a man who quite often calls the truth a lie and calls the lie a truth,” Cummings previously said of President Donald Trump. He vehemently opposed Trump’s immigration policies, and he did not hesitate to speak out against Trump after he became the chairman of the Oversight Committee in 2018. While in this role, Cummings oversaw various investigations into the Trump administration, including, most recently, the impeachment inquiry.
Cummings even went at it with Trump on Twitter during the summer of 2019. “Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA…..” Cummings responded on Twitter, as well, writing, “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
3. What did he do before his election? Cummings graduated from Washington D.C.’s Howard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1973. During his time there, he served on the student government. He then attended law school at the University of Maryland School of Law, and received his J.D. in 1976. He was a practicing lawyer for nearly 20 years before he became a member of the House of Representatives, and served in the Maryland House of Delegates for 14 years. Cummings also has 12 honorary doctoral degrees from various colleges across the country.
4. He previously suffered other health issues. In 2017, Cummings had surgery to repair his aortic valve. Two months later, he developed an infection related to the surgery. The ordeal kept him out of office for two months.
5. He leaves behind a wife and kids. Cummings’ wife was Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who was also a politician. She serves as chair of the Maryland Democratic Party and previously ran for Governor of Maryland. Together, they had three children.