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Health & Fit: Politicians, celebrities mourn the death of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, who died at 80

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John Lewis, John Lewis, John Lewis are posing for a picture: John Lewis. Rick Diamond/Getty Images © Rick Diamond/Getty Images John Lewis. Rick Diamond/Getty Images
  • Many who knew Rep. John Lewis expressed their grief over the civil rights icon's death on Friday night. 
  • Lewis revealed he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2019.
  • Many are sharing about Lewis's impactful career and legacy.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Politicians and celebrities are mourning the death of Rep. John Lewis, a decorated civil rights icon and the last surviving speaker of the March on Washington.

Rep. John Lewis, civil rights freedom fighter who rose to Congress, dies at 80

  Rep. John Lewis, civil rights freedom fighter who rose to Congress, dies at 80 Rep. John Lewis, the son of Alabama sharecroppers, became a leader in the Freedom Riders fight against segregation and later a 17-term congressman from Georgia. At age 25, Lewis suffered a fractured skull from a police officer's club at the "Bloody Sunday" 1965 confrontation on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Lewis announced in late December that doctors had discovered he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. © Provided by CNBC Rep. John Lewis is seen near the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Capitol Rotunda before a memorial service for Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Oct. 24, 2019. Rep.

Many are sharing about Lewis's impactful career and legacy. He had served in Congress since 1987. 

Martin Luther King III called Lewis an "American treasure."

"He gave a voice to the voiceless, and he reminded each of us that the most powerful nonviolent tool is the vote. Our hearts feel empty without our friend, but we find comfort knowing that he is free at last," the human rights advocate and son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. wrote on Twitter. 

Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia compared Lewis's death to a light going out in the world. 

"The grief of losing this great soul is beyond words. But we have been greatly blessed — our world is so much better for having had John Lewis in it," Beyer wrote. 

John Lewis, civil rights icon, has died at 80

  John Lewis, civil rights icon, has died at 80 Lewis, who helped organize the 1963 March on Washington and served in Congress for decades, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in December."It is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis," the statement from his family said. "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.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, one the first Muslim woman to serve in Congress and a Somali refugee, called Lewis a "giant" and a "moral voice for the whole nation."

 

In a tweet, journalist Dan Rather expressed his disbelief at the civil rights activists' death. Lewis died at 80 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2019, he revealed in a statement at the time.

"The news hits deep. And to the core. John Lewis dead. Can it really be? He had strength, courage, and heart enough for many lifetimes. We were young once. So many memories. So much distance traveled. So much further to go. Farewell, my friend. We shall overcome someday," Rathers wrote

This is a developing story.

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