CIVIL rights icon John Lewis has died at the age of 80.
The Georgia congressman passed away on Friday at his home in Atlanta after receiving hospice care to treat pancreatic cancer.
Civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis has died at the age of 80[/caption]
In a statement to NBC News, Lewis’ family said: “He was honored and respected as the conscience of the US Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother … a stalwart champion in the ongoing struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being.”
Lewis’ accomplishments were documented in Good Trouble, a film about his 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights released on July 3.
Lewis served 17 terms in the House of Representatives, beginning in 1987 until the day he died[/caption]
Lewis will best be remembered for leading 600 protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965, an event that became known as the Bloody Sunday march.
During the crossing, Lewis, then-25, was knocked to the ground by police and beaten, fracturing his skull.
The event, which was broadcast across the nation, bolstered support for the civil rights movement, which eventually forced Congress into passing the Voting Rights Act, ensuring African Americans enjoyed the same right to vote as everyone else.
Lewis was recently honored in Good Trouble, a documentary about his 60-plus years as an activist, which was released on July 3[/caption]
At just 23 years old, he helped organize the March on Washington with Dr Martin Luther King Jr[/caption]
In 2013, he was arrested in front of the US Capitol while protesting for immigration reform[/caption]
Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011[/caption]
Rep John Lewis hugs President Obama at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma[/caption]
The longtime congressman and advocate has been hailed as ‘an American hero’[/caption]
Tributes to Lewis from his colleagues on Capitol Hill poured in moments after news of his death.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi eulogized him as a “titan of the civil rights movement”, while Massachusetts Sen Elizabeth Warren said he was “the moral compass of our nation.”
“@RepJohnLewis was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation,” said Pelosi.
“Every day of his life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all.”
“John Lewis was a true American hero and the moral compass of our nation,” said Warren.
“May his courage and conviction live on in all of us as we continue to make good trouble for justice and opportunity.”
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said it is “difficult to comprehend a world without John Lewis.”
California Senator Kamala Harris expressed how “devastated” she is for Lewis’ loved ones and the hundreds of thousands of lives he touched in his six decades of activism.
“John Lewis was an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans. I’m devastated for his family, friends, staff—and all those whose lives he touched,” said Harris.
“My friend, thank you for showing the world what #GoodTrouble looks like.”
Minnesota Rep Ilhan Omar memorialized “Sir” in two heartfelt tweets, in which she said serving alongside Lewis was “one of the great honors of my life.”
She also spoke of how he affectionately referred to her as his “daughter” and how momentous it was for him to visit Africa with Omar, a native Somalian.
“He never lost his youthful joy and passion for democracy. It was so contagious and fueled all who knew and loved him,” said Omar.
“Rest in power sir.”
He was one of the original Freedom Riders who were assaulted and arrested for protesting racial injustice in the 1960s south[/caption]
‘Every day of his life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all,’ Nancy Pelosi said of Lewis[/caption]
John Lewis stands in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama 50 years after he was beaten by police on the bridge during the March on Selma[/caption]
Utah Rep John Curtis and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and both memorialized their colleague as an “American hero”.
“John Lewis was a giant among men. A Civil Rights Icon, an indefatigable champion for justice, and a hell raiser known for making ‘good trouble’,” said Castro.
“In mourning his passing, let us aspire to build the nation that Congressman Lewis believed it could be.”
Julián’s brother, Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro said Lewis was a “champion for justice”.
In a short series of tweets, Joaquin described how Lewis commanded the respect and attention of his fellow lawmakers “without grievance of cynicism”.
False rumors of the activist’s death swirled days before his passing when North Carolina Rep Alma Adams mistakenly tweeted that Lewis had died.
She wrote in her since-deleted post: “Words cannot do John Lewis justice because everything he did was in the service of Justice.”
Lewis was arrested in 1961 for using a “Whites only” bathroom during the Freedom Rides in Mississippi[/caption]
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro described Lewis as ‘hell raiser known for making ‘good trouble”[/caption]
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“He gave everything – including his blood and his body – to the Movement. It was an honor to make “good trouble” with John in the House, and I will miss both my friend and the man himself.”
However, Adams quickly sent a follow-up tweet, which read: “We deeply regret a previous tweet based on a false news report.”
Lewis joins hands with Coretta Scott King, and President Barack Obama to sing ‘We Shall Overcome’[/caption]