Frank Lautenberg, the last World War II veteran serving in the United States Senate, died of natural causes this morning at the age of 89:

Frank R. Lautenberg, who rose from a poor Paterson boyhood to become a multimillionaire businessman and New Jersey’s longest-serving U.S. senator, died Monday at 89 of viral pneumonia, his office said. The oldest member of the Senate, Lautenberg had struggled with health problems since late last year, when he missed several weeks of votes because of what he said was flu and bronchitis. The death of Lautenberg, a Democrat, creates a vacancy that Gov. Christie, a Republican, will fill. Lautenberg returned to Washington in February and announced he would not seek re-election in 2014, but hoped to complete a series of accomplishments before his term ended. He had a breakthrough last month on one of them, a bill to overhaul the law that regulates chemicals used in household products, when a bipartisan compromise bill was unveiled.

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