NJ Assembly's Republican Leader Dies at Statehouse

By ANGELA DELLI SANTI | January 10, 2012 | 3:30 AM EST

FILE -- In an Aug. 16, 2004 file photo state Sen. Alex DeCroce, R-Morris, is seen during a news conference at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. DeCroce died Monday Jan. 9, 2012, died at the Statehouse on the final day of the current legislative session. (AP Photo/Brian Branch-Price/file)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Assembly's top Republican leader has died at the Statehouse on the final day of the legislative session.

Seventy-five-year-old Alex DeCroce collapsed in a men's room around 11 p.m. Monday night.

Gov. Chris Christie issued a statement confirming DeCroce's death about 2 ½ hours later.

The Legislature is scaling back plans for Tuesday's reorganization and Christie is postponing his state-of-the-state speech. Instead, Christie is expected to talk about DeCroce, who he says gave him his start in elective politics in 1993.

DeCroce, of Parsippany-Troy Hills, served in the Assembly since 1989 and became the GOP's leader there in 2003. His district includes parts of Morris and Passaic counties.