RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Congressman Donald McEachin (D - Richmond) passed away on Monday at the age of 61.
Tara Rountree, McEachin's Chief of Staff, said that the congressman passed following a battle with colorectal cancer.
McEachin was first elected to Virginia's 4th District in 2016. Earlier this month, he was reelected for his fourth term in Congress, where he lent his voice and support to protecting civil rights and LGBTQ rights.
He was also outspoken for equality, curbing gun violence and environmental protection.
According to The Washington Post, he was the third-ever African American to represent Virginia in the U.S. House.
McEachin is survived by his wife, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin and their three adult children — Mac, Briana and Alexandra.
Earlier this month, McEachin attended a premiere for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" where he shared his personal health battles in a packed theater.
"I can't stress to you enough the importance of early detection," McEachin said. "I know many of you have watched my journey and I've had a number of health issues. Nearly every one of the issues he's had is related to the radiation he had to deal with my colon cancer, my rectal cancer actually."
He urged the crowd to get regular exams.
"Don't fool around. Don't go through my journey. Go to the doctor," McEachin said.
Rountree shared the following statement on Monday night.
We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin. Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013. 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. Until a new representative is elected, our office will remain open and continue to serve our constituents. The family asks for privacy at this time. Arrangements will be announced over the next few days.
In a statement shared on Monday night, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney called McEachin a "true public servant" and asked for the city to send him and his family prayers.
Thank you for your service to our community, Rep. McEachin. May God bless you and your family. pic.twitter.com/BSYEaGANO3— Mayor Levar M. Stoney (@LevarStoney) November 29, 2022
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin also shared a statement about McEachin on Monday night, saying the congressman was a "valiant fighter until the end".
It’s so sad to learn of the passing of @RepMcEachin. A valiant fighter until the end, he admirably served Virginia & worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his constituents & Americans. Suzanne & I are thinking of his family, friends, & community during this difficult time.— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) November 29, 2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called her late colleague “a tireless champion for Virginia families and a force for economic opportunity and environmental justice.”
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., released a statement saying: “Up until the very end, Don was a fighter. Even though he battled cancer and faced other trials in recent years, he never lost his focus on social and environmental justice. Tonight, Virginia has lost a great leader and I have lost a great friend.”
Rep. Gerry Connelly, D-Va., called McEachin an “environmentalist, civil rights advocate, faithful public servant, and a man of consequence. There was no better ally to have.”
Aston Donald McEachin was born Oct. 10, 1961, in Nuremberg, Germany. His father was an Army veteran and his mother a school teacher.
He graduated from St. Christopher’s School in Richmond in 1979, then earned a bachelor’s degree at American University in 1982 and a law degree at the University of Virginia in 1986. He earned a master of divinity degree at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in 2008.
A lawyer in private practice during his career, he served in the House of Delegates from 1996-2002 and 2006-2008 and then the state Senate from 2008-2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.