Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) died earlier today in Manhattan of viral pneumonia. He was the oldest member of the Senate and its only World War II veteran. After a successful business career, he was elected to the Senate in 1982, after which he served three terms, declining to run in 2000. In 2002, when Robert Toricelli (D) decided to step down from the other New Jersey seat, Lautenberg came out retirement and replaced him, later winning re-election in 2008.
Among his notable accomplishments was legislation to cut highway funding for states that did not raise their drinking age to 21, and later for not setting their definition of "legally drunk" at blood alcohol content level of 0.08%. He also helped to establish a ban on smoking on all commercial airline flights and in federal office buildings.
Governor Chris Christie (R) will have the duty of naming a temporary Senator to fill Lautenberg's seat until the end of his term, which will be on 03 January 2015, after the 2014 election. Lautenberg is survived by his second wife, his four children from his first marriage, two stepchildren, and 13 grandchildren.
Read more at the New York Times, CNN, USA Today, NorthJersey(dot)com and NPR.