Just weeks after his reelection to Congress, Rep. A. Donald McEachin died Monday. He was 61.

The venerable Democrat, who represented Virginia’s 4th District, reportedly battled colorectal cancer.

Prior to the U.S. Congress, McEachin served nine years as a state senator and eight as a Virginia delegate.

“We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin,” said Tara Rountree, McEachin’s chief of staff, in a statement late Monday night.

“Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013,” Rountree said. “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.”

The son of a public school teacher and military veteran, McEachin graduated from American University with a political science degree.

He also matriculated from the University of Virginia Law School and received a Master of Divinity from The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.

The Virginia native dedicated most of his adult life to fighting to protect the environment. He also championed affordable health care.

“Hearing the news of his death sent a shock of pain through me tonight,” said Virginia state Sen. and fellow Democrat L. Louise Lucas. “I remember watching him make history as the first-ever African American nominee for state attorney general in 2001.”

During a recent screening of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” McEachin spoke openly about colorectal cancer, urging people to get checked.

“Don’t fool around. Don’t go through my journey. Go to the doctor,” McEachin urged the crowd.

McEachin was “a gentle giant,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement.

“He was a compassionate champion for underdogs, a climate warrior, a Christian example, an understanding dad, a proud husband, a loyal brother,” Kaine said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called McEachin “a tireless champion for Virginia families and a force for economic opportunity and environmental justice.”

“[He was] a respected voice on the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources Committees, he advocated to lower costs, expand broadband access and protect families from gun violence,” Pelosi said. “His many contributions to our Select Committee on the Climate Crisis helped lay the essential groundwork for our climate action over the last two years, especially the important progress toward environmental justice.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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