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Virginia Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin passed away on Monday at the age of 61 following his battle with colorectal cancer. McEachin, who was first elected to Congress in 2016, was re-elected earlier this month in the midterm elections to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Tara Rountree, the congressman’s chief of staff, released a statement announcing the tragic news: “We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin. Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013. Tonight, he lost that battle, and the people of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District lost a hero who always, always fought for them and put them first.”
“Until a new representative is elected, our office will remain open and continue to serve our constituents. The family asks for privacy at this time. Arrangements will be announced over the next few days,” the statement continued.
The new Congress will begin in January 2023 with a vacancy until there is a special election to fill his seat.
US Rep. Donald McEachin, a Virginia Democrat, died Monday, according to a statement from his office. He was 61. https://t.co/VbJhrz8IuU
— CNN (@CNN) November 29, 2022
BREAKING NEWS: Virginia Congressman Donald McEachin (D – Richmond) passed away on Monday at the age of 61. https://t.co/oSnKuZmWht
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) November 29, 2022
Support poured in for the lawmaker on social media.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying she “joins Virginians in mourning the loss of McEachin,” who she described as a “tireless champion for Virginia families and a force for economic opportunity and environmental justice.”
“It is with great sadness that I join Virginians tonight in mourning the loss of Congressman Donald McEachin: a tireless champion for Virginia families and a force for economic opportunity and environmental justice. For two decades, Congressman McEachin was a distinguished leader on climate in Richmond: serving in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate. A respected voice on the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources Committees, he advocated to lower costs, expand broadband access and protect families from gun violence. His many contributions to our Select Committee on the Climate Crisis helped lay the essential groundwork for our climate action over the last two years, especially the important progress toward environmental justice,” Pelosi said.
“Congressman McEachin understood that every family — whether in the East End of Richmond or any community across America — deserves clean air, clean water, and a healthy planet. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, and he leaves behind a legacy that will improve the lives of all of our children for generations to come. May it be a comfort to his loving wife Colette, their dear children Mac, Briana and Alexandra, grandchild Gael and the entire McEachin family that so many join them in mourning during this sad time,” Pelosi added.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries said in a statement that McEachin’s “presence will be sorely missed in the Caucus, the Congress, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted: “I’m heartbroken to hear this devastating news about my friend @RepMcEachin from Virginia. He was a foot soldier for truth & justice. He fought so valiantly against cancer and will be forever missed!”
Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner tweeted: “Up until the very end, Don McEachin was a fighter. Even though he battled cancer and faced other trials in recent years, he never lost his focus on social and environmental justice. Tonight, Virginia has lost a great leader and I have lost a great friend.”
President Pro tempore L. Louise Lucas of Virginia wrote: “I served in the General Assembly with Donald McEachin for over 20 years, watching him make history as the first-ever African American nominee for Attorney General of VA in 2001 before he went to Congress. Hearing the news of his death sent a shock of pain through me tonight. His leadership in the Congress was felt throughout the Trump Presidency as he held him accountable and then helped Joe Biden pass his agenda through the past two years. We will miss him terribly.”
Virginia Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger tweeted: “Tonight, I am mourning my friend, colleague, and mentor Congressman Donald McEachin. He was a good man who endeavored to make others feel important and heard whether in the courtroom, the General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, or simply in a quiet moment. He brought his passion for people, his sense of humor, and his abiding faith in God to his work every day — and he was a relentless advocate for those who needed a voice, our natural resources, and the people he represented. But his example of leadership, his generosity of spirit, and his commitment to doing right in the world and rectifying injustices will endure for everyone whose lives he has touched, including mine. He will be greatly missed. Adam and I are keeping his wife Colette, his daughters, and his beloved grandson in our prayers — and we are thinking of his family during this difficult time as we remember his legacy. Godspeed my friend, my brother, and my neighbor.”