Donald Payne, the first black elected to represent New Jersey in Congress, died Tuesday. Payne’s brother, William, said he died at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston.

The 12-term member of the House had announced in February that he was undergoing treatment for colon cancer and would continue to represent his district. He was flown back home to New Jersey on Friday from Georgetown University Hospital as his health took a sudden turn for the worse.

He had held his congressional seat since 1988 and was elected to a 12th term in 2010. He represented the 10th District, which includes the city of Newark and parts of Essex, Hudson and Union counties.

 He was a widow with three children, four grandchildren and one great grandchild, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. He was a school teacher before becoming an insurance executive and turning to politics. He served 12 terms in the House, and served on the Education and Workforce and Foreign Affairs committees.