Pa. House Rep. Donatucci dies suddenly

State Rep. Robert C. Donatucci, 58, chair of the House Liquor Control Committee and a 30-year veteran of the legislature, died in his sleep today at his home in South Philadelphia.

The cause of death is not yet known.

Robert C. Donatucci

Rep. Donatucci, a Democrat, had been a state representative since 1980.

His 185th District covers part of South Philadelphia, most of Southwest Philadelphia and a strip of Delaware County along the city's western border.

House Speaker Keith R. McCall, D-Carbon, praised Rep. Donatucci's service, saying, "For the past 30 years he fought tirelessly for the people of his district and was a quiet, resolute force in the Legislature."

"Rep. Donatucci's service as Chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee is distinguished by a relentless effort to prevent underage drinking and make sure state law was always at the vanguard of consumer protection and customer service," McCall said in a statement.

Gov. Rendell ordered that state and U.S. flags at the state Capitol in Harrisburg and in Rep. Donatucci's 185th House District be flown at half-staff until his interment.

"Rep. Donatucci was a gentleman - and a gentle man - who devoted his life to his family and public service," Rendell said in a statement. "He was a loyal Democrat who also understood that to govern is to compromise."

A Philadelphia native, Rep. Donatucci graduated from Bishop Neumann High School in 1970 and Temple University in 1974.

He is survived by his wife Marie and two children.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.