NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM/AP) - New York State Sen. Jose Peralta died Wednesday night in Queens after a brief undetermined illness, according to reports. The cause of death has not been determined. He was 47.
Peralta's wife, Evelyn, told reporters he had felt pressure behind his ears and headaches for a week or more and had seen a doctor, according to local news outlets. He developed a fever Tuesday and became disoriented and had trouble breathing Wednesday, when he was taken to a hospital, she said. His family believes he had an infection.
"We really don't know what happened," Evelyn Peralta said. "He just took a turn for the worst."
The Democrat was the first Dominican-American elected to the State Senate in March 2010. He represented Jackson Heights, Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, and parts of Woodside and Astoria in Queens.
A few days before his death, Peralta shared a photo on Twitter of the Thanksgiving turkey drive that he has organized for years.
His death came as a shock to many in New York and Albany, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and state Sen.-elect Jessica Ramos, who defeated Peralta in the recent primary. They reacted to his death via social media:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, called Peralta "a relentless advocate for Queens" who "fought tirelessly to make a difference for others."
State Assembly Speaker and fellow Democrat Carl Heastie recalled Peralta's commitment to public schools, gun safety and immigrant rights.
"His constituents remained his top priority" even after his primary loss, Heastie said in a statement.