New Jersey Assembly Republican minority leader Alex DeCroce collapsed and died late Monday as a lame duck session of the legislature came to an end.
DeCroce, 75, had served in the legislature for 22 years and led the Republican minority for the past eight years. He represented parts of Morris County and Passaic County.
Rep. Jon Bramnick (R-Union), who serves as conference leader for the Assembly Republicans, told NBC New York that DeCroce had described a pain in his left arm and said he wasn't feeling well, but still stayed on the Assembly floor for the closing moments of the legislative session.
"Just as we broke, he went into the bathroom," Bramnick said.
Moments later, someone found him collapsed on the floor.
Assemblyman Herb Conaway, a private physician and a Democrat, was among the legislators who rushed to help the fallen assemblyman, Bramnick said.
Bramnick said a defibrillator failed to resuscitate DeCroce. Later, state troopers told his wife about his death at their home in Parsippany-Troy Hills.
Gov. Chris Christie, who returned to the capital around midnight to give his condolences, postponed his State of the State speech Tuesday to instead give remarks about his longtime friend.
"He was a valued adviser and unshakable ally," Christie said. "He was one of the kindest, most gentle and most trustworthy people I've ever known."
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