BALTIMORE — Congressman Johns Sarbanes said "We have lost a giant."
Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings passed away Thursday at 2:30 in the morning at the age of 68, at Gilchrest Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins affiliate.
In a statement released by his office, Cummings's died "due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges".
At the time of his death, Cummings was serving his thirteenth term in the United States House of Representatives.
Cummings was first elected to Maryland's 7th Congressional District seat in 1996, during a Special Election following the resignation of Kweisi Mfume, who stepped down to take over as National President of the NAACP.
Over the next 23-years, Cummings would rise through the ranks of the House to become Chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, and a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure .
The son of sharecroppers, Cummings was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and played a significant role in the civil rights movement.
Cummings was very visible in his district, especially during turbulent times in the City, including in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray.
He lived in the district, in the Madison Park Community in the City's west side until his death, and was an active member of the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore.
After graduating from City College High School in 1969, Cummings would go on to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Howard University, and graduate from the University of Maryland School of Law.
From there, Cummings would start off his political career in the Maryland House of Delegates and become the first African American in the State's history to be named Speaker Pro Tem.
Cummings was a father to three kids and married to Chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.
"Our children are the living messages that we send to a future we will never see," is a message Cummings often repeated according to his office.