Civil rights icon and congressman, John Lewis, has passed on at the age of 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer although it has not been confirmed if he died of complications.
Almost immediately after the news broke on Friday night, tributes poured in from all corners of the United States.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) described Lewis’ life as a “mission for justice, equality and freedom [that] left a permanent impression on our nation and world.”
Former President Barack Obama also condoled Lewis’ family, adding that “Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, too, was full of praise of Lewis’ participation in the civil rights movement.
“Every day of John Lewis’s life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all. As he declared 57 years ago during the March on Washington, standing in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial: ‘Our minds, souls, and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all the people,'” Pelosi said.
When he announced his cancer diagnosis last December, Lewis said: “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”
Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th district which covered much of Atlanta. He came to national prominence in the 1960s as part of the campaign to push equal rights for America’s Black people.
Lewis was the last-surviving member of the “Big Six” African-American civil rights activists along with Martin Luther King Jr, James Farmer, Whitney Young, Roy Wilkins and Asa Philip Randolph.