U.S. Representative Donald M. Payne, a popular and respected Democratic figure whose legislative achievements included securing billions in foreign aid for people with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, died of colon cancer March 6 in Livingston, New Jersey, The New York Times reports. He was 77. Elected in 1989 as New Jersey’s first black congressman, Payne chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from 1995 to 1997. In his February announcement of his diagnosis, he said he’d remain at his post and run for re-election, as his doctors had expected him to make a full recovery.

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