Alcee Hastings, Civil Rights Pioneer and Florida Congressman, Dies at 84

The Floridian Democrat was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018, but continued to work and make appearances

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a civil rights pioneer and federal judge who has served in Congress since 1993, died Tuesday at age 84.

The Florida Democrat was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018, and according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, continued his public appearances in the years that followed, but entered hospice care recently.

He was a lawyer, a civil rights pioneer and then a federal judge who was impeached and removed from the bench for accepting bribes. But he followed that disgrace by entering politics, going on to win 15 congressional elections. He was the first Black person to run for Senate in Florida and at the time of his death was the state’s senior congressman.

Tributes to Hastings poured in on Tuesday following the announcement of his death by the Sun-Sentinel.

Fellow Floridian representative Ted Deutch released a statement saying he is “heartbroken” by the death of Hastings, who he said was “a leader in the South Florida community” who “did all he could to protect the vulnerable and those who knew he would champion their cause when others looked away.”

Alcee spoke up for the quiet voices that would otherwise go unheard. He never backed down from a fight for the people he represented and anyone else who needed defending,” he said.

Rep. Alcee Hastings has departed us for that great assembly in Heaven. He taught me a lot about public service and life. Rep. Hastings loved the people he served and championed the plight of the least, the lost and the left behind. May he forever Rest in Power,” wrote New York congressman Hakeem Jeffries on Twitter.