The Long Beach Democrat's office had announced several months ago she'd been diagnosed with a blood clot in her abdomen. Oropeza had also previously battled liver cancer. Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says he and Oropeza had been friends since she was elected to the Assembly a decade ago. He says the Senator's experience with cancer played a big role in the legislation she pursued:
"Certainly smoking and carcinogens and the environment all relate to the incidence of cancer that we see and she knew it and she decided that was one very important place where she was going to make her mark and she did."