LOS ANGELES - Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif. -- who recently took leave from Congress for treatment of cancer -- died at 68 in Carson, Calif., Sunday.
Millender-McDonald was serving her seventh term in the House of Representatives. She was the first African-American woman to chair the House Administration Committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., issued a statement calling Millender-McDonald "a trailblazer, always advocating for the full participation of all Americans in the success and prosperity of our country."
"She was a strong defender of the right of every eligible voter to have full access to the polls, and a tireless proponent of a fair election process that ensured that every vote would be counted," Pelosi said.
President George W. Bush said he and first lady Laura Bush were "deeply saddened" by the death of Millender-McDonald.
"She was a dedicated public servant who tirelessly and honorably served her country for many years," the president said.
Millender-McDonald had five children and seven grandchildren.
She is the second member of Congress to die of cancer this year, the Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, noted. The first was Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga.
The house clerk will oversee Millender-McDonald's office until an election can be held to replace her, The Hill reported.
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