The five-term Democratic senator died this morning today at age 89, his office said in a statement. Lautenberg was the longest-serving senator in New Jersey history.
First elected in 1982, he retired in 2001. In 2002, he was a last minute substitute for embattled Democratic incumbent Bob Torricelli and went on to defeat Republican Doug Forrester. He announced in February he would not seek re-election in 2014.
Lautenberg was the longest-serving senator in New Jersey history and was the last of 115 veterans of World War II to serve as a U.S. senator, according to his office.
Reaction from state and national leaders started pouring in this morning.
“He leaves behind an amazing legacy of pushing for the rights of the working poor and middle class. While a man of means, he never, ever lost sight of helping working people. He will be missed. We have lost a true leader,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney.
“Saddened by the passing of WWII veteran & US Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Our thoughts & prayers are with his family, friends & the people of New Jersey,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner.
NJTV will have more reaction on this developing story tonight at 6 pm ET on NJ Today with Mike Schneider. Also, tune in tonight for NJTV Special Report: Remembering Senator Lautenberg at 7 pm.