An aide to Rep. Louise Slaughter says the 88-year-old Democratic congresswoman from upstate New York has died. Slaughter was serving her 16th term in Congress and was the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, per the AP. She was the first woman to chair that committee when she led it from 2007 through 2010. Liam Fitzsimmons, Slaughter's chief of staff, said in a statement she died early Friday at George Washington University Hospital after injuring herself in a fall in her area home. Fitzsimmons said on Wednesday that she'd sustained a concussion but no broken bones, and her office had expressed hope for her recuperation. "The congresswoman is tough as nails and she will bring that same spirit to this recovery," he said at the time, per the Democrat & Chronicle.
Slaughter was originally from Kentucky and had a bachelor's degree in microbiology, as well as a master's degree in public health. She was repeatedly re-elected, sometimes narrowly, and was the longest-serving member of Congress from New York. Per the Democrat & Chronicle, she'd just announced last month she was planning on a 17th term. CNN notes she was also known for her efforts in fortifying military body armor after an Iraq War report cited all of the casualties linked to inadequate equipment. Both sides of the aisle offered their condolences upon hearing of her death. "Congresswoman Slaughter embodied the very best of the American spirit and ideals," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, while the head of the House Rules Committee, the GOP's Pete Sessions, called Slaughter "a fearless leader, deeply committed to her constituents, and a dear friend."