Jan. 15, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
The sudden death of State Sen. Jose Peralta in November, which shocked constituents and New York politicians across the spectrum alike, stemmed from complications of an aggressive form of leukemia, the city medical examiner announced today.
The findings come two months after Peralta’s death on Nov. 21 at age 47, with a spokesperson noting that the legislator had “acute promyelocytic leukemia.”
The cancer is characterized by an overgrowth of immature white blood cells in the bone marrow, leading to a shortage of normal white and red blood cells in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH noted that the disease is a rare type of leukemia.
It is unclear if Peralta’s family was aware of the disease’s role in his untimely death on the day before Thanksgiving. The family had not mentioned leukemia after his death, and told several news outlets that Peralta had died of sudden septic shock, which led to organ failure.
But Peralta’s widow, Evelyn, told the New York Post in the days after his death that additional tests needed to be done, and that there was no final conclusion yet.
Peralta was elected to the state senate in 2010, at the same time becoming the first Dominican-American in the body. But the Queens resident, who grew up in Washington Heights, had represented Jackson Heights and surrounding neighborhoods in Albany since 2003.
The late-politician, however, was on track to leave his post as senator for District 13 at the end of 2018 after being defeated in a September primary by now State Sen. Jessica Ramos.