Huffpost Politics

US Rep. Tubbs Jones of Ohio dies after hemorrhage

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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland Clinic official says Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio has died.

Clinic spokeswoman Eileen Sheil says Tubbs Jones died at 6:12 p.m. Wednesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm that burst and left her with limited brain function.

The 58-year-old Tubbs Jones was the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress and a strong critic of the Iraq war. She suffered the hemorrhage while driving her car in her east side district Tuesday evening.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) _ Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, had a brain hemorrhage and was in critical condition with limited brain function, a doctor said Wednesday.

Tubbs Jones, 58, suffered the hemorrhage while driving her car in Cleveland Heights on Tuesday, said Dr. Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital in East Cleveland. The congresswoman had been driving erratically and her vehicle crossed lanes of traffic before coming to a stop, police said.

Tubbs Jones "collapsed when she suffered a very serious brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm that burst in an inaccessible part of her brain," Kious said during a news conference. A team of doctors who evaluated her determined she has limited brain function.

A brain aneurysm is a bulge in an artery in the brain. It can leak or rupture, causing bleeding in the brain.

Family friend Joe Hewitt asked people to pray for the congresswoman. Family members including Tubbs Jones' son, Mervyn Jones II, attended the news conference but left without commenting.

East Cleveland Mayor Eric Brewer, a longtime friend of Tubbs Jones, said it wouldn't be appropriate to consider the political vacuum in Ohio if she cannot serve.

"As far as we're concerned, she's still here until further notice and until the Lord says it's her time to go," Brewer said at the hospital following the news conference. "Right now, She's our congresswoman."

Tubbs Jones, elected in 1998, was one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's biggest boosters during the primaries and is to be a superdelegate at next week's Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Although she backed Barack Obama in June, Tubbs Jones has said Obama can't win unless Clinton's supporters rally behind him.

"She is a passionate and tireless advocate for the people of Cleveland and a devoted public servant for all Americans," Obama said in a statement. "We send our heartfelt prayers to Stephanie and her family at this very difficult time."

Tubbs Jones represents the heavily Democratic 11th District and chairs the ethics committee in the House. She's the first black woman to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, where she opposed President Bush's tax cuts and his efforts to create personal accounts within Social Security.

Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, had earlier reported that Tubbs Jones had died. The AP cited a Democratic official.

The reports prompted Sen. John Kerry to issue a statement mourning her passing.

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Associated Press Writer Andrew Taylor in Washington contributed to this report.

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