Virginia Congressman Donald McEachin dies at 61 after cancer battle

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  • Rep. Donald McEachin of Virginia died on Monday after battling colorectal cancer. He was 61.

  • McEachin, a Democrat, had just been reelected to a fourth term in office earlier this month.

  • "Up until the very end, Don was a fighter," Sen. Mark Warner said in a statement on Monday.

Rep. Donald McEachin, a Democrat from Virginia, died on Monday after battling colorectal cancer, according to his congressional office.

He was 61 years old.

"We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin," McEachin chief of staff Tara Rountree said in a statement on Monday evening. "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."

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who served as the Commonwealth's governor from 2002 to 2006, remembered McEachin fondly on Monday.

"Up until the very end, Don was a fighter," Warner said in a statement. "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."

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, also a former Virginia governor, recalled meeting McEachin for the first time in 1985 and spoke of his relationship with the congressman in his remembrance.

"Our kids were the same age, we shared a statewide ticket with Mark Warner [in 2001], and we've been together in the Virginia federal delegation for years," Kaine said in a statement. "I was last with him on election night three weeks ago, celebrating his win."

"He was a gentle giant, a compassionate champion for underdogs, a climate warrior, a Christian example, an understanding dad, a proud husband, a loyal brother," he added.

Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, who was recently reelected in the 7th district, remarked on the legacy of her colleague.

"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 US Congress, or simply in a quiet moment," she wrote on Twitter.

"Congressman McEachin's passing leaves a deep void here in Virginia," she went on to say. "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."

House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York in statement spoke of McEachin's character, stating that the lawmaker would be "sorely missed in the Caucus, the Congress and the Commonwealth of Virginia."

"Don brought a servant's heart, fierce passion and beaming smile to everything that he did," Jeffries said.

McEachin had just been reelected to a fourth term representing the Commonwealth's 4th Congressional district, which includes the state capital, Richmond, and parts of suburban Henrico and Chesterfield counties, as well as the Tri-Cities region and part of Hampton Roads.

During his Capitol Hill tenure, the congressman was committed to tackling environmental justice and climate change issues, serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Natural Resources Committee, and Select Committee on Climate Crisis.

Before his election to Congress, McEachin, an attorney, was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1996 to 2002 and again from 2006 to 2008. He served in the Virginia Senate from 2008 to 2017.

In 2001, McEachin was the Democratic nominee for state attorney general, but lost the election to Republican Jerry Kilgore.

The congressman is survived by his wife, Colette McEachin, the Commonwealth's attorney for the City of Richmond, and their three adult children.

Read the original article on Business Insider