Frank Lautenberg, the last surviving Second World War veteran in the US Senate, died this morning, aged 89. Lautenberg was the Democratic Senator for New Jersey and was the oldest member of the Senate.
Lautenberg reportedly died from pneumonia. He had suffered from health problems earlier this year, missing more than six weeks of the Senate and announced that he would not be standing for re-election in February.
He was born to Russian and Polish immigrants and went on to success first as a businessman and then as a senator, with a number of legislative accomplishments.
Lautenberg was honoured for his services to the Jewish Community and Israel last week at the Annual Gala for Hillel. However he was unable to attend due to poor health.
He was seen as a progressive with regards to his views on Israel, and last year accused the Republican party of “playing political games” with the Israel-US relationship. He was also considered one of the most liberal members of the Senate, supporting the pro-choice stance on abortion.
His death creates a vacancy in the Senate that will be filled by the Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, a Republican.