New Jersey Sen. Lautenberg, last surviving WWII vet in the Senate, dies at 89

Chad Pergram
Fox News

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who cast more votes than any other U.S. senator from New Jersey, died Monday after complications from viral pneumonia.

Lautenberg died at 4:02 a.m., at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He was 89 years old.

First elected to the Senate in 1982, Lautenberg lived to be the oldest member of the upper chamber by the end of his tenure and was the last surviving World War II veteran in the Senate. He initially retired from the Senate in 2000, but ultimately returned to Capitol Hill two years later at the age of 78.

Lautenberg was best known for advocating federal restrictions on tobacco use. Most notably, he authored the landmark 1987 law that banned smoking on airplanes. And 21 years later, he led the push to close the Senate “smoking rooms.”

He was also a prominent voice for increased gun control even as many fellow Democrats distanced themselves from the issue. He wrote the 1996 law that prohibits domestic abusers from purchasing firearms, and called for closing the so-called gun show loophole to strengthen background checks. In fact, the last votes he cast in the Senate came in April on various gun control amendments.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, will be tasked with appointing a replacement for Lautenberg, who was not planning to seek re-election in 2014…

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