Representative John Lewis, a force in the civil rights movement, died in 80

Representative John Lewis, a force in the civil rights movement, died in 80
John Lewis - a symbol of the civil rights movement, a congressman and a force in democratic politics for decades - died at the age of 80.

Louis died after a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. Louis began treating the disease after he was diagnosed during a routine medical examination. His diagnosis was revealed publicly in late December.

"The Black Assembly of Congress," said in a statement Friday evening: "The world has lost a legend, and the civil rights movement has lost an icon."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Lewis as one of the "greatest heroes of American history" - a man who changed his "goodness, faith, and courage" of the nation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: "The history of our great nation only sided with justice because great men like John Lewis took it upon themselves to help dissuade it."

"Kind of fighting"

Lewis started his nearly 60-year career in public service with a pioneering sit-in in separate lunch counters in the south of Jim Crow's era. He raised that battle for freedom and equality with a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in March 1963 in Washington and tested his own resolve as he and other peaceful demonstrators were violently beaten in 1965 while crossing the Edmund Petos Bridge in Salma, Ala.

Lewis described it as a moral obligation to defend his beliefs. This motivation to serve has motivated him to run for Congress, having represented the Atlanta region in the US House of Representatives for more than 30 years. He continued to work after being diagnosed, vowing to confront advanced stage cancer in the same way that he faced other major challenges in his life: by refusing to step back.

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