New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne Jr. dead at 65

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D), who represented New Jersey in the House for more than a decade, has died at the age of 65.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) confirmed Payne’s death in a Wednesday statement.

“Tammy and I are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of our friend, and a steadfast champion for the people of New Jersey, Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.,” he wrote.

Payne had what his office called a “cardiac episode” related to complications from diabetes more than two weeks ago and had been hospitalized since.

The New Jersey Globe reported last week that Payne had remained unconscious after his cardiac episode, which occurred in early April. His office, however, issued a statement saying the congressman was in “stable condition” at a local hospital under doctors’ care, adding, “While we hope for a full recovery, we ask everyone to keep him in your prayers.”

Payne had served in Congress since 2012, representing New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District, which covers parts of Essex, Hudson and Union counties. He was first elected to the House in a 2012 special election to fill the seat left open after the death of his father, Donald Payne.

Payne’s death will bring the total number of members in the House to 430, after four other lawmakers resigned in the middle of the session. The breakdown is 218 Republicans and 212 Democrats.

That number is expected to shrink soon as Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) plans to resign from Congress ahead of the end of his term. Gallagher was initially supposed to resign at the end of next week, but he put off those plans amid the vote on a foreign aid package.

Gallagher officially submitted his resignation paperwork Wednesday, his office told The Hill.

Condolences rolled in for Payne after news of his death broke, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressing their sadness at his passing.

“We are saddened to be informed of the passing today of Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., who had been serving New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District since 2012, and who succeeded his father in the same position,” Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said in a statement on social platform X. “Our prayers are offered today for his family and friends, and especially his wife, Bea, and their three children.

“I am devastated by the passing of my friend Don Payne,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) wrote on X. “Like his father, Donald gave his entire life to the people of Newark. I cannot think of any member who embodies the big heart and humble demeanor central to public service more than Don. The Payne name will live on in Newark.”

The Congressional Black Caucus said in a statement that “Payne will be remembered by all those who knew him for his kindness and generosity.”

“He leaves behind a legacy and commitment to service that New Jerseyans and our country will not soon forget.”

Cheyanne Daniels contributed to this report.

Updated at 1:54 p.m. EDT

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.