California Sen. Jenny Oropeza, a Democrat who was facing re-election next month, has died in a Long Beach Hospital after a long illness. She was 53.
Oropeza's press secretary, Ray Sotero, said Thursday the senator died Wednesday night of complications from a blood clot she developed in her abdomen in May. He says the clot led to a common side effect, a buildup of fluid in her lungs that affected her breathing.
The Carson lawmaker was known for championing health and environmental causes, including unsuccessful legislation that sought to ban smoking at state parks. The illness forced her to miss most of this year's session.
She was diagnosed and successfully treated for liver cancer in 2004. Oropeza was elected to the Senate in 2006 after serving six years in the Assembly.