The senior US Senator from California, a Democratic stalwart, died overnight, according to her family:
In recent years, Ms. Feinstein, 90, had suffered from frail health and memory issues that made it difficult for her to function alone and prompted calls for her to step down, which she consistently rejected.
Her staff was being informed at 9 a.m.
A spokesman for Ms. Feinstein’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CNN had her obituary ready to go:
Feinstein broke a series of glass ceilings throughout her life, and left her fingerprints on some of Capitol Hill’s most consequential works in recent history – including the since-lapsed federal assault weapons ban in 1994 and the 2014 CIA torture report.
In her later years, the California Democrat’s health was the subject of increasing scrutiny and speculation. A hospitalization for shingles in February led to an extended absence from the Senate – stirring complaints from Democrats, as Feinstein’s time away slowed the confirmation of Democratic-appointed judicial nominees – and when she returned to Capitol Hill three months later, it was revealed that she had suffered multiple complications during her recovery, including Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis. A fall in August briefly sent her to the hospital.
Feinstein, who was the Senate’s oldest member at the time of her death, also faced questions about her mental acuity and ability to lead. She dismissed the concerns, saying, “The real question is whether I’m still an effective representative for 40 million Californians, and the record shows that I am.”
She will be missed.