Longtime AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has died

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FILE – In this April 4, 2017 file photo, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka listens at the National Press Club in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Richard Trumka, the powerful president of the AFL-CIO labor union, has died, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Schumer, an ally of the union boss, announced Trumka’s death from the Senate floor Thursday.

“The working people of America have lost a fierce warrior at a time when we needed him most,” Schumer said.

President Joe Biden called Trumka “a close friend” who was “more than the head of AFL-CIO.” He apologized for showing up late to a meeting with Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander civil rights leaders, saying he had just learned Trumka had died.

Further details of Trumka’s death were not immediately available. The AFL-CIO did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said the following regarding Trumka’s passing:

“I am heartbroken to learn of the death of my dear friend Richard Trumka. Rich’s story is the American story – he was the son and grandson of Italian and Polish immigrants and began his career mining coal. He never forgot where he came from. He dedicated the rest of his career to fighting for America’s working men and women. He was a fierce advocate for working people and a truly decent man. Most importantly, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Gayle and I will keep Barbara, Rich Jr. and the many people who loved Rich in our prayers as they mourn this tragic loss.”

West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword, Secretary-Treasurer Andy Walters and the Vice Presidents that make up the WV AFL-CIO Executive Board released the following statement:

“Today West Virginia labor leaders mourn the tragic loss of a towering figure in the labor movement and a tireless fighter for working families across the country, even around the world. As a former coal miner who served for many years as president of the United Mine Workers of America, Richard had deep connections with West Virginia workers and traveled to our state countless times throughout his career to advocate on behalf of them. We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones, and vow to continue fighting for working families in his honor.”

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