United States Representative Donald Payne died Tuesday at age 77. Payne, who is often considered the most progressive Democrat, is known for his work in human rights on behalf of the poor. His brother William reported that he died in a St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey.
President Barack Obama ordered flags lowered in Payne's honor, and commented on his death saying Payne was a "leader in US-Africa policy, making enormous contributions towards helping restore democracy and human rights across the continent."
Prudential Financial Inc offered financial services with around $901 billion in assets and “benefited directly from Rep. Payne’s insights and dedication during his distinguished tenure.” The CEO of Prudential continued by saying, “While never wavering in his commitment to his home state and district, Rep. Payne was a compassionate and energetic voice for people in need around the world. As a steadfast champion of education and civil rights, as well as a passionate advocate for aid to Africa, he had an impact far beyond the borders of his district, state and nation. Thanks to Rep. Payne’s devoted efforts, children and families around the world can enjoy happier, healthier lives.
Donald Payne received numerous awards for his humanitarian work including the Visionaries Award bestowed by the Africa Society and the coveted Democracy Service Medal given by the National Endowment for Democracy.
Donald Payne reported he was undergoing “colon cancer treatment” last month. After falling “gravely ill” in March he was flown from Washington D.C. to a hospital in New Jersey were he perished.
He represented the 10th district of New Jersey and was elected to a 12th term in 2010. He was a widower and is survived through his three children and four grandchildren.