In brief remarks to White House reporters on Thursday, President Biden described Trumka as a "very close friend". Biden said Trumka died on a camping trip while with his family.
"The labor movement, the AFL-CIO and the nation lost a legend today," the 12.5-million-member organization said in announcing his passing. "Rich Trumka was a tireless worker, from his days as president of United Mine Workers of America to the time he became the voice of America's labor movement.
Liz Shuler, the secretary-treasurer of the federation, wrote on Twitter that even as the AFL-CIO mourns Trumka's death, "we will stand on his shoulders to continue the fight for workers, and for the fair and just society he believed in so passionately. We will pay tribute to his legacy by taking action."
Trumka was the AFL-CIO's leader since 2009. Trumka was the secretary-treasurer for more than a decade.
According to the AFL-CIO, Trumka was 33 years old when he was elected as the youngest president of United Mine Workers of America.
"He had in his veins in every atom his body, heart, thoughts, and the needs of the working Americans of America. In emotional remarks, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader, stated that he was them.
Schumer said: "The working people in America have lost a fierce fighter at a moment when we most needed him."
Trumka's passing comes as Biden, congressional Democrats, and other Democrats try to pass two huge spending plans that would pump funds into many union-heavy areas.
Biden has long touted his connections to labor groups, and in mid-February, barely a month into his term, he gathered 10 union leaders in the Oval Office for a meeting that lasted two hours. Trumka was also part of that group.
Trumka stated after the meeting, "This president really gets it."