The last to be killed was Rep. Leo Ryan of San Francisco. The Democrat was leading a delegation investigating an American religious cult in Jonestown, Guyana, when it was ambushed on Nov. 18, 1978. He and four others were killed.
Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat who now represents Ryan's district, was an aide on the trip and survived being shot five times. She called Giffords "a very talented, rising star in the Congress" who was "attacked while engaging in one of the most basic activities of public service."
Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, is battling for life after a deranged gunman shot her in the head Saturday.
According to the Congressional Research Service, 60 members of Congress have died of "other than natural causes." Most have perished in plane crashes or accidents. Nine were suicides. Three died in duels.
In more recent history, two other famous senators were cut down by assassin's bullets:
- Robert Kennedy, Democrat of New York, was assassinated on June 6, 1968, in Los Angeles after winning the California presidential primary.
- Huey Long was shot at the Lousiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge on Sept. 8, 1935. He died two days later.
- Rep. Cornelius Springer Hamilton, R-Ohio, was killed by an insane son on Dec. 12, 1867.
- Rep. James Hinds, a Northern Republican elected to Congress from Arkansas during Reconstruction, was assassinated by a Ku Klux Klansman on Oct, 22, 1868.
- Rep. John Pinckney, a Texas Democrat, was shot to death at a mass meeting on April 24, 1905, by a lawyer vehemently opposed to Prohibition.