Rep. Steve Schiff, five-term Republican congressman who helped research the ethics case against House Speaker Newt Gingrich, died Wednesday at age 51 after a battle with cancer.

The New Mexico Republican, who had been fighting aggressive squamous-cell skin cancer for more than a year, died Wednesday at his Albuquerque home.Schiff had been absent from Washington, D.C., since last April but had continued to conduct congressional business from home. Because of his illness, he had announced in January that he would not run for re-election this November.

Gingrich had been accused of using tax-exempt groups for partisan goals.

As one of two Republicans on the ethics subcommittee that investigated him, Schiff was credited with helping create a compromise plan that allowed Gingrich to resolve the allegations.