Ed Pastor, Arizona's 1st Hispanic congressman, dies

PHOENIX (KSAZ/AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, Arizona's first Hispanic congressman, has died at age 75.

Pastor, a Democrat, served 23 years in Congress. He was the longtime senior member of the state's U.S. House delegation before he decided in 2014 against running for re-election.

According to a statement from Phoenix Councilwoman Laura Pastor, her father died on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.

"With heavy hearts, the Pastor family would like to inform the public that Congressman Ed Pastor passed away on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, at the age of 75. Congressman Pastor served the people of Arizona for more than 40 years as a member of the U.S. Congress and a member of the Board of Supervisors for Maricopa County. He was the first Mexican-American from Arizona elected to Congress. Congressman Pastor will be remembered for his commitment to his family, and his legacy of service to the community that he loved, the state of Arizona and the nation. The Congressman's wife of 53 years, Verma, would like to thank the first responders from Phoenix Fire Station 9 and the doctors and nurses at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center for the care they provided Ed in the final moments of his life. At this time, the Pastor family asks for privacy as they mourn the loss of their husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle and leader. Further information will be provided regarding the celebration of Congressman Ed Pastorʼs life."

Ronnie Lopez, a longtime friend of Pastor and finance director of all of his campaigns, said Pastor had a heart attack while dining at a restaurant with his wife, Verma.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called Pastor "an Arizona trailblazer and true public servant" and said he was ordering that flags be lowered statewide to half-staff to recognize "the long-lasting impact he will leave on Arizona."

According to an official history website for the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Pastor was the first person in his family to go to college by attending ASU, and served as a Maricopa County Supervisor before running in a special election to replace Morris Udall, a 15-term congressman who resigned in May of 1991.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 10 Phoenix for updates.