Remembering John Lewis

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12:05 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Rep. John Lewis served 17 terms in Congress

John Lewis represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District, which includes much of Atlanta, since first being elected in 1986.

A leader of a civil rights group called the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, he was one of the participants in the key 1965 civil rights protest pushing for voting rights from Selma to Alabama's capital, Montgomery. Lewis — who had his skull broken by white police officers during the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma — was, by his own count, arrested more than 40 times during his days of civil rights activism.

In recent years, Lewis has drawn headlines for stirring up what he calls "good trouble" for his vocal opposition to Donald Trump — including voting to impeach the President.

In July, he offered a forceful rebuke of Trump's racist tweets against four Democratic congresswomen of color.

"I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it. And at the highest level of government, there's no room for racism," he said.

"It sows the seeds of violence and destroys the hopes and dreams of people. The world is watching. They are shocked and dismayed because it seems we have lost our way as a nation, as a proud and great people."

12:05 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Lewis continued working after he was diagnosed with cancer

From CNN's Paul LeBlanc

Civil rights icon and US Democratic Rep. John Lewis announced in December 2019 he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer following a routine medical visit with subsequent tests that reconfirmed the diagnosis.

"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, who in March 1965 joined forces with Martin Luther King Jr. to lead a voting rights march out of Selma, Alabama, said in a statement.

He continued later: "While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance."

Pancreatic cancer was the third-leading cause of death from cancer in the United States in 2018, after lung and colorectal cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. The cancer, on average and across all stages, has a five-year survival rate of 9%, according to the American Cancer Society.

But Lewis vowed to continue his work in Congress.

12:05 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, 80, has died

Congressman John Lewis passed away Friday night, according to a statement from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. 

In December, the civil rights icon was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. But he said as recently as last month that his health was improving.

Lewis was 80 years old.