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The country is mourning the loss of Maryland Congressman Rep. Elijah Cummings. The true trailblazer who fought for our Democracy and became one of the faces leading the fight against the Trump administration died early Thursday morning. He was only 68 years old.

Elijah Eugene Cummings was born Jan. 18, 1951, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a graduate of Howard University and the University of Maryland School of Law. He became a member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1983 and by 1996 he was the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland’s 7th District.

Cummings died “due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges,” according to an announcement released by Cummings’ congressional office. He had been a respected Congressman for more than 20 years.

The unexpected announcement came after Cummings, the ranking chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, recently announced that he was having a medical procedure but never returned to his Capitol Hill offices afterward, according to the Baltimore Sun. That announcement came on Sept. 30 and said that he was only expected to miss about two weeks of work.

Tuesday would have been his first day back to work following his medical procedure. Instead, he ended up missing that day’s House roll call vote.

Prior to the medical procedure, Cummings has been embroiled in a feud with President Donald Trump, who the target of a Democratic-led impeachment inquiry championed by the Maryland Congressman. Trump had been attacking Cummings with dog-whistling insults. Back in July, the president called Baltimore, a predominately Black city that Cummings represents and has called home since birth, “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and disparaging the Congressman in a tweet that many people called racist.

According to his official House bio, Cummings “began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem. Since 1996, Congressman Cummings has proudly represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Cummings had been hospitalized last year after he was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital for a bacterial infection in his knee, which the congressman’s office described at the time as a minor procedure. That hospitalization prompted his wife to suspend her Democratic primary campaign for Maryland governor in January of 2018. Prior to that, Cummings was hospitalized in May of 2017 after undergoing “minimally invasive” heart surgery. It was a procedure to correct a narrowing of the aortic valve. It was unclear if his death early Thursday morning was related to either of those procedures.

Cummings is survived by his wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, and their three children.

See his life in photos and videos below.

1. 1973

Elijah Cummings Source:Getty

(Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

2. 1998

US President Bill Clinton (R) attends church with BALTIMORE, : US President Bill Clinton (R) attends church with Maryland Governor Parris Glendening (L) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (C), (D-MD), 01 November at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD. Source:Getty

President Bill Clinton (R) attends church with then-Maryland Governor Parris Glendening (L) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (C), (D-MD), at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore. (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP via Getty Images)

3. 1998

US Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-MD), and US Rep. Charl WASHINGTON, : US Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-MD), and US Rep. Charles Rangel, (D-NY), (R), speak with reporters just outside the West Wing of the White House early 12 September after meeting with US President Source:Getty

Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-MD), and then-Rep. Charles Rangel, (D-NY), (R), speak with reporters just outside the West Wing of the White House after meeting with President Clinton. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

4. 1975

Elijah Cummings Sitting Source:Getty

(Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

5. 2001

US President George W. Bush (2ndL) meets 31 Januar WASHINGTON, : US President George W. Bush (2ndL) meets 31 January, 2001, with members of the Congressional Black Caucus including Caucus Chair Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, (L), (D-TX), Rep. Elijah Cummings, Source:Getty

President George W. Bush meets with members of the Congressional Black Caucus including Caucus Chair Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, (L), (D-TX), Rep. Elijah Cummings, (2nd-R), (D-MD), and Rep. Bobby Rush, (R), (D-IL), in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO LUKE FRAZZA (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP via Getty Images)

6. 1978

Elijah Cummings Source:Getty

(Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

7. 2003

Screening Of HBO Documentary "Unchained Memories" WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 6: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (L), Chair of the Afro-American Studies at Harvard University, and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) attend a screening of the new HBO documentary "Unchained Source:Getty

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (L), Chair of the Afro-American Studies at Harvard University, and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) attend a screening of the new HBO documentary “Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives” February 6, 2003 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. (Photo by HBO via Getty Images)

8. 1985

Elijah Cummings Source:Getty

(Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

9. 2004

2004 DNC - Elijah Cummings Source:Getty

Elijah Cummings speaks during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)

10. 1988

Elijah Cummings Source:Getty

(Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

11. 2007

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Rep. Elijah Cummings welcomes then-U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama to the stage as he addresses thousands of supporters on the campus of Prince George’s Community College. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

12. 1996

Md. Delegations, Reps. Steny Hoyer, Parren Mitchell, Elijah Cummings and Kweisi Mfume pose for a photo"n Source:Getty

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Former Rep. Parren Mitchel, D-Md., Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. and Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md. pose for photos on April 29, 1996. (Photo by Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

13. 2012

US-POLITICS-JACKSON-CUMMINGS Source:Getty

Rep. Elijah Cummings speaks to civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson on December 6, 2012, during the opening plenary breakfast of the 36th Annual Legislative Conference of The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) at a hotel in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

14. 2000

Elijah Cummings Source:Getty

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

15. 2014

Guests Arrive For White House State Dinner In Honor Of French President Source:Getty

Elijah Cummings his wife and Maya Rockeymoore Cummings arrive to a state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in honor of French President Francois Hollande at the White House on February 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

16. 2015

Six Baltimore police officers face criminal charges in Freddie Gray's death Source:Getty

Elijah Cummings, center, and state Senator Catherine Pugh, right, lead a group of demonstrators in Baltimore on Friday, May 1, 2015. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

17. 2016

US-VOTE-DEMOCRATS-CLINTON Source:Getty

Then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after receiving the endorsement of Congressman Elijah Cummings during a grassroots event in Baltimore, Maryland on April 10, 2016. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

18. 2016

Howard University 148th Commencement Convocation Source:Getty

Rep. and Howard Alumnus Elijah Cummings, and Michael Eric Dyson, sociology professor at Georgetown University, check out Dyson’s book “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America” at Howard University‘s 148th Commencement Convocation. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

19. 2016

Baltmore Gun Rally Source:Getty

Elijah Cummings speaks during a rally with lawmakers and gun violence victims to call for action on gun safety measures on the steps of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore, Md., June 29, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

20. 2017

Donald Trump Is Sworn In As 45th President Of The United States Source:Getty

Elijah Cummings arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C., for Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

21. 2018

Meet the Press - Season 72 Source:Getty

Rep. Elijah Cummings and moderator Chuck Todd appear on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

22. 2019

Newly Elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds Ceremonial Swearing-In Source:Getty

Rep. Elijah Cummings and his wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, participate in a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, January 3, 2019. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

23. 2008

Elijah Cummings Source:Getty

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

24. 2016

US-VOTE-DEMOCRATS-CLINTON Source:Getty

(Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

25. 2017

House Democrats Speak To Press After Weekly Caucus Meeting Source:Getty

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

26. 2019 At The Michael Cohen Hearing

28. 2019, House Oversight and Reform Committee

House Oversight and Reform Committee Source:Getty

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

29. 2015, Freddie Gray funeral

Freddie Gray funeral Source:Getty

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

30. 2019, Rep. National Press Club

Rep. Elijah Cummings Speaks At National Press Club Headliners Luncheon Source:Getty

Former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, pose for a picture before Rep. Cummings spoke at a National Press Club Headliners luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

31. Oct. 17, 2019

Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings Dies At 68 Source:Getty

The door to the office of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) remained closed in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. Representing Maryland’s 7th Congressional District since 1996, Cummings passed away early Thursday at the age of 68. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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