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Stephanie Tubbs Jones, US representative, at 58

By M.R. Kropko
Associated Press / August 21, 2008
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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio - Democratic US Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones - the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, one of the biggest boosters for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, and a strong critic of the Iraq war - died yesterday after having a brain hemorrhage, a Cleveland Clinic official said.

Ms. Tubbs Jones, 58, died at 6:12 p.m. after suffering a brain hemorrhage that caused an aneurysm that burst and left her with limited brain function, spokeswoman Eileen Sheil said.

"Throughout the course of the day and into this evening, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones's medical condition declined," Sheil said in a statement from the clinic and Ms. Tubbs Jones's family.

Ms. Tubbs Jones was found Tuesday slumped behind the wheel of her car in Cleveland Heights after driving erratically and crossing lanes of traffic before coming to a stop, police said.

Ms. Tubbs Jones, first elected in 1998, often spoke on Clinton's behalf during the primaries and was to be a superdelegate at next week's Democratic National Convention. She, like Clinton, threw her support to Barack Obama.

"Stephanie was an extraordinary American and an outstanding public servant," Obama said in a statement. "It wasn't enough for her just to break barriers in her own life. She was also determined to bring opportunity to all those who had been overlooked and left behind - and in Stephanie, they had a fearless friend and unyielding advocate."

"This news breaks our hearts. Stephanie combined the best of heart, head, and spirit," Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said in a statement. "We spent so many days together in 2004, and our friendship endured. She was one of a kind, the genuine article."

She represented Cleveland and suburbs, and was known to constituents as an outspoken, gregarious lawmaker who smiled often.

Chairwoman of the ethics committee in the House, Ms. Tubbs Jones was the first black woman to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, where she opposed President Bush's tax cuts.

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