Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon has died at the age of 80 after battling pancreatic cancer.
His family announced the sad news in a statement. They said: “It is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis,
“He was honored and respected as the conscience of the U.S. Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother. He was a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being.
“He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America. He will be deeply missed.”
Former United States President, Barack Obama, reacting to John Lewis death said: “Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way,
“John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders — to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise.”
President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton released a joint statement that read, in part: “We have lost a giant. 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… We’ll always be grateful to God for his good life, and grateful that he lived to see a new generation of Americans take to the streets in search of his long-sought ‘beloved community.”
John Lewis dedicated his life to service and activism, including a 33-year career in Congress. At age 21, Lewis became one of the original Freedom Riders, beginning his lifelong fight for racial equity.
He spoke at the landmark March on Washington in 1963, where Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, and marched for voting rights in Alabama in 1965.