Updated from 4:20 a.m. EDT
) -- Democratic Senator Robert Byrd died early Monday,
Earlier reports said Byrd was seriously ill and had been hospitalized.
There are fears Byrd's death could jeopardize passage of new legislation on
Byrd's death could hurt Democrats' chances of getting the needed 60 votes in the Senate to clear a Republican procedural roadblock against the bill put together last week by House and Senate negotiators,
Democrats believed last week the Senate would pass the
, but it was not immediately clear if they could do so without Byrd, the West Virginia lawmaker,
Byrd, 92 years old, was the longest-serving member of Congress in history.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel in New York.
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