The first black person to be elected senator in the US, Edwards Brooks, has died at the age of 95 according to a BBC report.
Edwards Brooks was elected into Congress in 1966 in Massachusetts during widespread racial unrest in the US.
He was also the first African-American to hold the post of attorney general in any state when he was elected senator.
Two black senators before him were both picked by state legislatures.
President Barack Obama said in a statement: “Senator Brooke led an extraordinary life of public service.
“Ed Brooke stood at the forefront of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness.”
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said: “I have lost a friend and mentor.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said: “Senator Brooke’s accomplishments remind us that anything is possible in our country.”
Mr Brooke served in the Senate until 1979 and is one of only nine African-Americans to do so, including President Obama.
Mr Brooke built a reputation as a Republican liberal during his time in the Senate. He opposed Republican President Richard Nixon and was the first Republican senator to publicly call for Mr Nixon’s resignation after the Watergate scandal.
He was instrumental in passing the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited racial and religious discrimination.
Mr Brooke was re-elected in 1972 by a huge margin but by the time he ran for a third term, he was involved in a divorce which attracted national attention and raised questions about a false financial statement he had made regarding a $49,000 loan.
He lost his bid for the third term in 1978 and returned to private law practice.
In 2002, Mr Brooke was diagnosed with breast cancer and became a national leader in raising awareness of the disease in men, which occurs much less frequently than in women.