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Ohio Congresswoman Tubbs Jones Dies at 58

In this April 29, 2004 file photo, Rep, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, talks with a reporter in her Capitol Hill office in Washington. Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, was hospitalized Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, after suffering an aneurysm, her spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File)
In this April 29, 2004 file photo, Rep, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, talks with a reporter in her Capitol Hill office in Washington. Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, was hospitalized Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, after suffering an aneurysm, her spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File) (Photo: Dennis Cook/AP)
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washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, August 21, 2008; Page A02

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a key figure in Ohio Democratic politics and the chairman of the House ethics committee, died yesterday at a Cleveland hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

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Police found the 58-year-old lawmaker unconscious behind the wheel of her car Tuesday night after they noticed it swerving. She was taken to Huron Hospital in East Cleveland for treatment.

Tubbs Jones "collapsed when she suffered a very serious brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm that burst in an inaccessible part of her brain," Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital, said at an afternoon news conference.

Tubbs Jones died at 6:12 p.m., according to a statement issued by her family and the hospital. Several news organizations, including washingtonpost.com, erroneously reported earlier yesterday that Tubbs Jones had died based on information from anonymous sources and retracted those reports after Kious's appearance. Based on the reports, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) sent out a statement lamenting Tubbs Jones's passing.

Michael Lim, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that "patients can recover after a bad brain aneurysm" but that Kious's statement had described a "very poor prognosis."

Before the announcement of Tubbs Jones's death, a prayer vigil was held in the Capitol. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D), who represents a neighboring district, said he and his wife were traveling from Washington to Cleveland "to offer comfort and support to her family."

Tubbs Jones represented Ohio's 11th District, which includes eastern Cleveland and nearby suburbs, since 1998, and she was the first African American woman to represent the state in Congress. Under state election laws, Cuyahoga County Democratic officials will choose a replacement for her on the November ballot.

During this year's presidential primaries, Tubbs Jones emerged as one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's strongest supporters in Ohio and in the Congressional Black Caucus, despite pressure from some quarters to back Sen. Barack Obama. But Tubbs Jones held her ground through the Ohio primary in March, which Clinton won by 10 percentage points.

Tubbs Jones endorsed Obama in June after Clinton ended her campaign. Like all congressional Democrats, she was scheduled to serve as a superdelegate at the party's national convention in Denver next week.


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