Respected American lawmaker and human rights icon, John Lewis, dies at 80

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UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 3: Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., waits to enter the Senate chamber to listen to the farewell address of the Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the Capitol on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams)

Respected US lawmaker, John Lewis, who was pivotal to civil rights and struggle for equal rights in America, died Friday at age 80.

He had been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, a diagnosis that was announced in the last days of 2019. Lewis’ death was reported by the Associated Press.

“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” Lewis said when he shared news about the cancer in December. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”

If there were a Mount Rushmore of civil rights heroes, some hallowed monument to fearless freedom fighters, Lewis’ face would be among those etched in stone beside that of Martin Luther King Jr.

When King delivered his movement-defining, standard-bearing “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington, Lewis, the 23-year-old chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was one of his featured warm-up acts.

With 250,000 crowded in front of the Lincoln Memorial and millions more tuning in on TV, Lewis delivered a toned-down speech which still resonated with energy, anger and inspiration.

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