Senator Dianne Feinstein has died at the age of 90, shortly after her return to Congress following a bout of shingles.
Feinstein returned to the Senate in May after a two-month battle with shingles, where she appeared to be unaware of her own extended absence.
The California lawmaker, who was the oldest member of the Senate, had suffered mounting health problems.
“This is a sad day for California and the nation. [Senator] Feinstein was a champion for our state, and served as the voice of a political revolution for women,” California Congresswoman Barbara Lee said on social media on Friday.
Feinstein was elected in 1992 as the first woman to represent California in the US Senate and quickly rose to become a key figure in the Democratic Party, playing prominent roles on committees and passing key legislation.
Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, DC, said Feinstein has left behind “quite a legacy”.
She was the first woman to serve as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee “and it’s hard to overstate just how important that position is”, Culhane said.