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It’s with a heavy heart that I report civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis has passed away.

Mr. Lewis had been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He died on Friday (July 17) at age 80.

Via NY Daily News:

In 1963, Lewis became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a post that made him one of the “Big Six” leaders of the growing Civil Rights Movement.

After the March on Washington, Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights Act, Lewis left SNCC in 1966, but continued an active role in the equal rights campaign. Not even the assassinations of King and U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 were enough to steer him off his freedom ride. He spent the next decade working with the Voter Education Project, which helped to register millions of voters across the country.

Lewis ran for office himself in Georgia in 1981, winning a seat on the Atlanta City Council. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, a seat to which he was re-elected 16 times.

Lewis was the only living speaker from the March on Washington present on the stage during the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. In 2011, Obama awarded Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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My sincerest condolences, love, and prayers to the Lewis family during this difficult time.