Lucas, a Democrat from Durham, had been absent regularly during this year's legislative session, which opened in late January. Her health had been declining recently. Breast cancer treatments in 2003 forced her to miss special sessions that year. Lucas was appointed to the Senate in 1993 after spending her career as a teacher and school administrator. She had been re-elected ever since, serving in recent years in the post of majority whip. Lucas spent much of her Senate career focused on education and health care.
Senate leader Marc Basnight's Aide Amy Fulk says other details of her death weren't immediately available. Other senators were notified of her death today. Durham County Democrats will nominate a replacement. Governor Easley is required to appoint the nominee.