WASHINGTON – Representative Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., A former federal judge and civil rights activist in his 15th term in Congress, has died at 84, a senior Democratic official confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.
Hastings said in early 2019 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington.
His death means another vacancy in the House, which shrinks the Democratic majority and makes it increasingly difficult for the party to pass legislation without near full agreement.
Hastings represented the 20th Congressional District of Florida, which covers parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Hastings had served as deputy chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee and was the longest-serving member of his state’s congressional delegation. He was recently appointed Chief Whip by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, DS.C.
Hastings has served in the House since 1993, making a comeback after indicting him in 1988 and the Senate impeached him as a federal judge a year later after convicting him of perjury and conspiracy in view to solicit a bribe. Hastings became Florida’s first black federal judge in 1979, after being appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Hastings’ death was first reported on Tuesday by The Sun Sentinel newspaper.