Edward Brooke, the first black person in US history to win popular election to the Senate, has died at 95.
The liberal Republican died of natural causes at his Florida home with his family at his side, said Ralph Neas, his former chief counsel.
Mr Brooke was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts in 1966, becoming the first black to sit in that chamber from any state since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and one of only nine black politicians who have ever served there, including Barack Obama.
He said he was “thankful to God” that he lived to see Mr Obama’s election as the first black US president. And Mr Obama was on hand in 2009 when Mr Brooke was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal.