Feinstein, the Senate’s oldest member, was celebrated as a pioneer for women in politics and a hugely effective legislator. During a career that began in local California government, she grew to be a tough check on administrations from both parties.
She had already announced her retirement this February as her health worsened and following a number of missteps that threatened her legacy.
The Californian, who was widowed last year, became San Francisco’s first female mayor after the fatal shooting in 1978 of Harvey Milk, the country’s only openly gay politician, and mayor George Moscone by a disgruntled former colleague.
Other dramatic moments including surviving an attempted bombing of her home. She was also near the scene of an infamous double murder in San Francisco.
Her death is not expected to shift the tight balance of power in the Senate, with the Democratic governor of California appointing her temporary replacement.
Summing up her dedication to public service, Feinstein once said that “even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives. Each of us was sent here to solve problems.”
“That’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years, and that’s what I plan to do for the next two years.”