Lujan, Speaker Of NM House Of Representatives, Dies

Ben Lujan, the speaker of New Mexico's House of Representative and the father of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, has died.

A spokesman for the congressman, Andrew Stoddard, confirmed in a statement early Wednesday that the elder Lujan had succumbed to lung cancer late Tuesday night. The Santa Fe Democrat spent nearly 40 years in the chamber before he announced on the first day of the session this year that he would not seek re-election. He shocked fellow lawmakers and others then as he disclosed his lung cancer diagnosis.

He first won election in 1975. He was one of the longest serving lawmakers in the Legislature. He also was one of the most influential.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.