Tributes and remembrances are pouring in for Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who died Thursday of complications from what his office called “longstanding health challenges.” He was 68.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol lowered to half-staff in honor of Cummings, who served as the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Speaking to reporters at her weekly press conference, Pelosi mourned the loss of her “brother in Baltimore.”
“He was considered our North Star,” Pelosi said. “He was a leader of towering character and integrity. He lived the American dream ... and he wanted it for everyone else. He spoke with unsurpassed clarity and moral integrity.
“He always used to say, ‘Our children are our living messengers to a future we will never see,’” she continued. “He wanted to be sure that future was going to be better for them and that they would bring with them our values.
Related: Rep. Elijah Cummings
Rep. Elijah Cummings
Rep. Elijah Cummings
US Congressman Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, March 8, 2017, after a meeting with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US Congressman Elijah Cummings (R), D-Maryland, and US Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vermont, speak at the White House in Washington, DC, March 8, 2017, after a meeting with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD), House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) hold a news conference to call for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election at the U.S. Capitol January 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Accusations of Russian computer hacks of Democratic National Committee servers and emails have lead to calls for an investigation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) visits with Rev. Jesse Jackson during a reception in honor of the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture at the White House September 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will be among the guests to help open the museum to the public Saturday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) hold a news conference to discuss ?legislation to lower drug prices and increase access to medications" on Capitol Hill in Washington September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Ranking member U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) and chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) chat during a hearing at the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on "Examining Obama Transparency Failures" in Washington December 9, 2014. Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber apologized on Tuesday for his recent remarks about "the stupidity of the American voter," telling the congressional committee he did not think President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law was passed in a deceptive manner. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH)
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) speaks during a news conference about his former staff, who lost six children of her children in an overnight fire in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks as U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) looks on during a news conference on the demonstrations for Freddie Gray, who died following an arrest by the Baltimore police department, in Baltimore, Maryland April 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) asks questions during "The Security Failures of Benghazi" hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. October 10, 2012. Diplomatic security in Libya was drawn down ahead of last month's fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi and U.S. officials did not have enough protection, the former head of a U.S. security team in Libya told lawmakers on Wednesday. REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: Congressman Elijah Cummings and his wife, Maya Rockeymoore, on the red carpet at the Congressional Black Caucus 20th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts at Sidney Harman Hall at the Shakespeare Theatre on September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/WireImage)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) gestures while delivering a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (R) talks to ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) prior to a hearing before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee July 7, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing 'Oversight of the State Department,' focusing on the FBI's recommendation not to prosecute Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for maintaining a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after receiving the endorsement of Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) during a grassroots event in Baltimore, Maryland on April 10, 2016. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)
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“It’s very sad. We’ve all lost a friend,” Pelosi added. “I am devastated.”
President Trump was among those who expressed their condolences on Twitter.
My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see first hand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader. His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!
Elijah Cummings was a true public servant, his life defined by the love of his community and a fierce commitment to ensuring truth wins over power. The whole Biden family sends our condolences to his wife, Maya, his children, and the entire city of Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/jYbvQwZI1a
America lost a giant with the passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings, a man of principle who championed truth, justice and kindness. He fiercely loved his country and the people he served. Rest In Peace, my friend.
.@RepCummings: Shocked by the suddenness of his passing. He possessed broad shoulders, keen intellect, a tough mind&a tender heart; the attributes of which great leaders are built.Condolences to his wife,his family, Baltimore,his constituents & the nation. A fine public servant. pic.twitter.com/RLemnnwTXh
Cummings’s congressional colleagues also posted tributes.
Elijah Cummings and the journey he forged was among the most remarkable and consequential. His whole life, he worked to right injustices present in communities across the country. Judy and I pray for his family and all who were touched by Elijah throughout his incredible life.
Rep. Cummings was an American hero, a beacon of hope, a profound storyteller; decent and fierce in his convictions and always fighting for the forgotten. He was an inspiration to me and to so many he served with.
All of Congress and our entire nation feels this loss so deeply.
Elijah Cummings was a friend, a mentor, and a leader with steadfast moral clarity. I am heartbroken.@RepCummings served this nation until his very last day — I’ve been honored to learn from him as his Vice Chair. My thoughts are with his family.
What would Elijah want us to say about him today? As my heart and soul grieves, I believe he would want us to think about the life we live and the service we give, because it matters. I believe he would encourage us to be a light in a dark world. pic.twitter.com/nLZBjGM0uV
1/2 When our nation can ill-afford to lose such a kind, principled leader one of my dearest friends and mentors has left us. My heart is broken, as I weep personally and for his family and community. Elijah Cummings’ unmatched integrity and leadership leaves a remarkable legacy.
Today our country lost a true leader. Congressman Elijah Cummings was a friend, a passionate fighter for justice, and a powerful voice of moral conscience in our government who served his country for decades with dignity and integrity. I’m blessed to have known him. #RIPElijah
We’ve lost a leader like no other. Elijah Cummings was a lion when standing up for his beloved Baltimore & rights & truth. But he was also so kind, including to brand new senators like me a decade ago. His advice was as true as his love for his country. 💔 https://t.co/T5pLt24Jjv
The son of sharecroppers, Elijah Cummings used his powerful voice to lift up those who often felt powerless. He will be missed and remembered as a tireless advocate for the poor and all who demand an honest, ethical, and fair government.
Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” changed his Twitter avatar to a photo of Cummings, who officiated at Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski’s wedding ceremony in November 2018.
Thank you, Elijah, for being such a good friend. But we thank God even more that you were such a powerful advocate for your constituents and a true patriot fighting for justice and truth. pic.twitter.com/E1SgnQXorO
Cummings transcended the world of politics, as evidenced by the swath of celebrities paying him tribute.
Elijah Cummings was and will remain a rock star in all the hearts of people who met him and were lucky enough to know him. I never met him, but I wish I had, and I always admired his passion for his country. A man who was never for sale. @RepCummings
A champion for the poor and downtrodden, Rep. Elijah Cummings has departed. He strove through decades of service to bring justice and dignity to greater numbers in this world. We honor his life and his work, and pledge to continue his fight. Rest now, great soul. pic.twitter.com/r4IThSvk8L
I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings. A true giant and champion for democracy. He was a fighter and patriot who loved this country and left a lasting legacy in American history. Sending love and prayers to his entire family, friends and staff. pic.twitter.com/mF9lesX38W
Very sad to learn of the passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings this morning. @RepCummings chaired the powerful House Oversight Committee. His booming voice rings in my ears, from when he demanded decency from the head of Homeland Security, for the treatment of children at our border. https://t.co/qZqK1rvKBR
Our heartfelt prayers go out to the family of Rep. Cummings, who generously shared his God-given gifts and talents w/the people of his beloved city, state and nation for so many years.We give thanks for his dedicated service and pray for the repose of his soul.#FaithinBaltimore
Congressman Elijah Cummings was a champion for the city of Baltimore and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. His integrity was unmatched and his passion for public service was inspirational. He will be incredibly missed. pic.twitter.com/k5fm3gBW3x