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Archive for Monday, April 23, 2007

California U.S. House member dies of cancer

April 23, 2007

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— Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., died early Sunday of cancer, an aide said.

Millender-McDonald, who was 68, died at her home in Carson, Calif., said her chief of staff, Bandele McQueen.

McQueen could provide no details on what form of cancer Millender-McDonald had. He said she had been receiving hospice care.

The congresswoman had asked for a four- to six-week leave of absence from the House last week to deal with her illness.

She was in her seventh term representing a heavily Democratic Southern California district that includes Compton, Long Beach and parts of Los Angeles.

"California and the nation have lost a great friend and public servant," said California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, who served with Millender-McDonald in the California state Legislature. "She was a champion for the consumer and fought injustice wherever she saw it. She always valued public service and served her state and nation with grace and honor."

Millender-McDonald is the second member of Congress to die this year of cancer. Republican Rep. Charles Norwood Jr. of Georgia died in February after battling cancer and lung disease.

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