Former congressman John Conyers dies at age 90

Washington (AFP) - John Conyers, the longest-serving African-American member of the US Congress who resigned following sexual harassment allegations in 2017, died Sunday, his family said. He was 90.

"Today, the city of Detroit, The United States and the world lost a fearless civil rights leader and hero," his family said in a statement.

"My husband was a fighter; when your back was up against a wall, he was right there with you. Not just for me, but for everyone," his wife Monica said.

Conyers was a political powerhouse from Detroit who co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus and employed civil rights icon Rosa Parks on his congressional staff, where she worked for 23 years.

He weathered multiple scandals during an illustrious 53-year career in Congress but suddenly resigned in late 2017 over a series of sexual harassment accusations by former staffers.

Conyers was abandoned by party leadership when the seriousness of the allegations against him -- which he maintained were "not true" -- became apparent. His resignation marked a stunning and rapid fall for one of America's civil rights pioneers.