The ailing Maryland U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings has died at the age of 68. Congressman Cummings passed away at Johns Hopkins hospital at approximately 2:45 a.m. due to complications of long-time health challenges.

"At approximately 2:45 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07) passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges," WBAL-TV 11 quoted a statement released by Cummings' office.

The civil rights advocate, who had been unwell for a long time had spent months in a hospital last year. He was first admitted for heart issues and then an infection in his knee.

Cummings was born in 1951 and raised in Baltimore. He is survived by his wife Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who was elected chair of the Maryland Democratic Party in Dec. 2018.

Since 1966, Cummings had represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before that, he had also served 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates and made history as the first African American in Maryland to be named Speaker Pro Tem during his tenure. 

rtr4hora U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings dies at 68 Photo: Reuters/Gary Cameron