New York state Sen. Jose Peralta dies unexpectedly at age 47

A veteran of New York state politics just passed away unexpectedly at 47.

State Sen. Jose Peralta, (D) who’d represented New York’s 13th state senate district since 2010 until he was primaried out this year, was pronounced dead on Wednesday evening at the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, New York City.

Chris Sosa, director of communications for the New York State Senate, released a statement on Peralta’s untimely death. “I can confirm that Senator Jose Peralta passed away on Wednesday. We have no further details to release at this time and ask that the family’s privacy be respected. Thank you to all who have reached out with words of kindness and support,” Sosa said.

Cause undetermined

Peralta had been feeling ill for about two weeks and had complained of “pressure behind his ears.”

After he took a sudden turn for the worse, an ambulance was called. “He had fever. That was the first indication that something was wrong,” his wife Evelyn said. “He pretty much stopped breathing. He had fluid in his lungs. He had difficulty breathing, and without oxygen.”

“We really don’t know what happened,” his wife said. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, but doctors told her that he had “a very bad infection.” “They said it could be meningitis, but they don’t know until they get the results,” she said.

Expressions of support

One of those who reached out to offer support was Jessica Ramos, the fellow Democrat who’d challenged Peralta for his seat earlier this year and won.

Ramos tweeted, “José Peralta is gone too soon. When I met him in 2003 I saw a world of promise for our community & though years later we’d disagree on tackling the issues, I know in his heart he loved his community. He was a true public servant. Strength & love to his wife, sons, and loved ones.”

PIX11 reported that Peralta had the distinction of being the first Dominican-American elected to the New York state senate, a position he first gained in a special election in 2010.

He went on to win the seat again in the general election later that year, and was re-elected in each successive election every two years until 2018’s primary election.

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Other prominent New York politicians have offered up their support for Peralta’s family following his death as well, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who tweeted, “I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Senator Jose Peralta. Senator Peralta was a dedicated public servant, a relentless advocate for Queens and a pioneer as the first Dominican American elected to the New York State Senate. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

The deceased state senator also left behind two sons, a 13- and 21-year-old, as well as countless friends and colleagues.

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