House Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. Donald Payne, (D - NJ) asks a question of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during her testimony before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
(AURN) -- U.S. Congressman Donald M. Payne was described as a true and dedicated native son of Newark, New Jersey and became the state's first African-American elected to Congress. The 12-term member of the House announced in February that he was undergoing treatment for colon cancer and would continue to represent his district despite his illness. According to the Congressman's brother William, Payne died at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ. Payne served as chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa and was a member of committees on education and foreign affairs. Payne lost his battle with colon cancer Tuesday, he was 77 years old.