Alcee Hastings, who spent nearly 30 years representing South Florida as a member of the United States House of Representatives, has died at the age of 84.
Hastings passed away Tuesday morning, according to a longtime friend.
Hastings, a Florida native who received graduated from Fisk University and the Florida A&M University School of Law, moved to Fort Lauderdale in the mid-1960s and spent 12 years as a judge that included a decade as on the court for the Southern District of Florida.
After being impeached on bribery and perjury charges in 1989, Hastings later ran for Congress and was elected in 1992.
"I had the honor of working side by side with Alcee for more than a decade, seeing first-hand his passion and drive for standing up to injustice and fighting for our community. Alcee devoted his career to advancing civil rights for all Americans and human rights around the world," fellow South Florida Congressman Ted Deutch said.
The Democrat was subsequently re-elected ever since and had spent time as a member of the Rules Committee and recently served as the co-chairman for Florida’s Congressional delegation.
"Congressman Hastings broke barriers as he fought to advance civil rights as the first Black Federal Judge in the State of Florida and first Black Congressperson to represent Florida since the Civil War," said State Sen. Lauren Book, a Democrat from Plantation. "I am grateful for the decades of advocacy Congressman Hastings provided for Floridians and offer my sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.”
The outspoken politician was critical of some Republicans who were in the White House during his time in office, twice objecting to the election and re-election of former President George W. Bush on the floor of the House.
"His brilliance, perseverance, and charisma allowed him to build a lasting and meaningful legacy," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican from Miami-Dade County. "Even during his last battle, the one that took his life, he continued to serve with passion, heart, and always with a smile on his face."
In 2018, Hastings was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer but continued public appearances as well as his duties in Congress. He was the longest serving member of Florida’s delegation.
“Florida has lost a brilliant, fearless, giant-hearted advocate for this state that he dearly loved, and Congress has lost a wise, patient and compassionate statesman," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, another of Broward's representatives who served with Hastings since 2005. "I have lost a treasured friend and true mentor, someone I constantly leaned on for sage counsel."
In recent days, he had reportedly been in hospice care. Hastings is survived by his wife, Patricia Williams, and three adult children from his previous marriages.
Funeral arrangements are pending.