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US Civil Rights Pioneer, Congressman John Lewis Dies at 80 after Battle with Cancer

FILE PHOTO:  Rep. John Lewis testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the second day of confirmation hearings on Senator Jeff Sessions'nomination to be US attorney general in Washington, US, January 11, 2017. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

FILE PHOTO: Rep. John Lewis testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the second day of confirmation hearings on Senator Jeff Sessions'nomination to be US attorney general in Washington, US, January 11, 2017. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Lewis, who had announced in December that he had advanced pancreatic cancer, was 80.

US Representative John Lewis, a pioneer of the civil rights movement and long-time member of the US House of Representatives, has died, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Saturday.

Lewis, who had announced in December that he had advanced pancreatic cancer, was 80.

"John Lewis was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation – from the determination with which he met discrimination at lunch counters and on Freedom Rides, to the courage he showed as a young man facing down violence and death on Edmund Pettus Bridge, to the moral leadership he brought to the Congress for more than 30 years," Pelosi said in a statement.

“In the Congress, John Lewis was revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol. All of us were humbled to call Congressman Lewis a colleague, and are heartbroken by his passing."

Tributes poured in from other politicians. "John Lewis was an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans," said Senator Kamala Harris, the first African American to represent California in the Senate, on Twitter. "I'm devastated for his family, friends, staff - and all those whose lives he touched.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter, "John Lewis was a true American hero and the moral compass of our nation. May his courage and conviction live on in all of us as we continue to make good trouble for justice and opportunity."

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