N.J. legislator collapses in statehouse bathroom, dies

Story highlights

  • Governor cancels his State of the State address
  • Alex DeCroce died in a restroom at the statehouse in Trenton
  • He has been a Republican leader in the N.J. General Assembly
Leading New Jersey Republican legislator Alex DeCroce has died, state police told CNN Tuesday.
DeCroce, 75, died about 11 p.m. Monday in a restroom at the statehouse in Trenton, the state capital, said State Police Lt. Steven Jones.
DeCroce collapsed in the restroom just moments after the state legislature's final voting session, the Newark, New Jersey-based Star-Ledger newspaper reported.
Lawmakers told the paper that another legislator who is a doctor attended to DeCroce, but he was found to be dead.
An emotional Gov. Chris Christie showed up at the statehouse at midnight, embracing several lawmakers, the newspaper said.
Christie's office said the governor has canceled his State of the State address, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, and instead will address lawmakers with a eulogy for DeCroce.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Christie mourned the loss of DeCroce, who he called a "dear friend, colleague and mentor."
"I have known Alex for nearly 20 years. He helped to give me my start in elective politics in Morris County in 1993. He was one of the most kind, considerate, and trustworthy people I have ever had the pleasure to know," the governor said. "He was an enormously accomplished legislator and a tremendous servant to the people of New Jersey."
Christie offered condolences to DeCroce's wife, Department of Community Affairs Deputy Commissioner Betty Lou DeCroce, and family.
"This is an enormous loss for our state and for me personally," the Republican governor said in a statement.
DeCroce was the Republican leader in the state's General Assembly since 2003 and had been in the Assembly since 1989.
The legislature's website lists his occupation as a real estate agent and said he attended Seton Hall University.