Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has died, his office said this morning.
Lautenberg, who was 89, had been ailing lately and was not going to seek reelection in 2014. He was the last World War II veteran serving in the Senate.
The cause was complications from viral pneumonia. He died just after 4:00 am this morning at a hospital in New York City.
Lautenberg was a liberal and a reliable vote for President Obama. But his death means that, at least until a special election later this year, the seat will likely be filled by a Republican, since GOP Gov. Chris Christie gets to make an appointment.
It’s not clear, though, that an appointment by Christie will make the Senate a much redder place. Christie is up for reelection this year and presumably doesn’t want to anger the New Jersey Democratic voters he’ll need.