John Lewis, U.S. congressman and civil rights leader, dies at 80

FILE - In this March 2, 2020 file photo, Congressman John Lewis talks with media members after signing paperwork to qualify for reelection to his District 5 seat in Atlanta. Lewis said Thursday, June 4, that the video of George Floyd's death at the hands of police in Minnesota “made me cry.” “I kept saying to myself: How many more? How many young black men will be murdered?” the Georgia congressman said on CBS.

FILE - In this March 2, 2020 file photo, Congressman John Lewis talks with media members after signing paperwork to qualify for reelection to his District 5 seat in Atlanta. Lewis said Thursday, June 4, that the video of George Floyd's death at the hands of police in Minnesota “made me cry.” “I kept saying to myself: How many more? How many young black men will be murdered?” the Georgia congressman said on CBS.

(Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

John Lewis, a long-serving U.S. Congressman and civil rights icon, has passed away at the age of 80.

Lewis announced in December that he had been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. He continued his work in Congress despite his illness and as he received treatment.

The last surviving speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King gave his infamous “I Have a Dream” speech, Lewis also led the first march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., two years later, on a day that came to be known as “Bloody Sunday” after white police officers attacked the Black demonstrators.

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Lewis suffered a head injury in the conflict.

He was elected to represent Georgia’s fifth congressional district in 1987, staying in office until his death.

In 2011, then-president Barack Obama awarded Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour of the United States.

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