Democratic Georgia Rep. and civil rights icon John Lewis has died at the age of 80 after a fight against pancreatic cancer, numerous sources reported.
Terrible loss: Civil Rights icon John Lewis has died after a struggle with pancreatic cancer. The Congressman became a young leader and speaker at Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington, and in 1965 almost died in the brutal attack on marchers at the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) July 18, 2020
Lewis served in Congress since 1987, and was an original Freedom Rider who demonstrated against segregation, riding interstate buses through the South in protest of segregated bus terminals, Business Insider reported.
John Lewis gave all he had to redeem America’s unmet promise of equality and justice for all, and to create a place for us to build a more perfect union together. In so doing he became the conscience of the nation.
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) July 18, 2020
Louise and I are heartbroken. Rev. C. T. Vivian passing earlier today and now our dear friend John Lewis. So much to say, but that will have to wait. For the moment I am so sad and simply have no words. pic.twitter.com/P4hAeSnikf
— Doug Jones (@DougJones) July 18, 2020
Lewis became a national figure by his early 20s, and was arrested and jailed for challenging Jim Crow laws. He was an organizer of the March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King Jr.
This picture of John Lewis 59 years ago when he was arrested for using a “white” restroom is just legendary. #goodtrouble pic.twitter.com/cgDRbyRa8u
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) July 18, 2020
Lewis was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2019, the final stage of the disease.(RELATED: Rep. John Lewis Diagnosed With Stage IV Cancer)
“I have been in some kind of fight—for freedom, equality, basic human rights—for nearly my entire life,” he said in a statement after the diagnosis. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.” He added, “I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community.”