News and Commentary

Congresswoman Apologizes For Tweet Falsely Claiming Rep John Lewis Had Died
Nashville Public Library Awards Civil Right Icon Congressman John Lewis Literary Award on November 19, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rick Diamond / Staff via Getty Images

Democratic Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC) apologized on Saturday for spreading an unverified, and ultimately false, claim that Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) was dead.

“We deeply regret a previous tweet based on a false news report,” tweeted Adams, who deleted the false tweet about the congressman’s alleged passing.

Adams posted another tweet an hour later affirming that she was glad Lewis was still, in fact, alive, and apologized to those close to him for declaring otherwise.

“I am deeply sorry to Congressman John Lewis, his family, and his staff for the erroneous information posted to our social media accounts earlier today. Rep. Lewis is one of my friends and heroes and I am relieved to know he is at home resting,” said the congresswoman.

A spokesperson for the 1960s civil rights leader promptly debunked the reports of his death in a statement to an Atlanta-based newspaper.

“It’s only rumors,” Michael Collins, Lewis’ chief of staff, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the rumors first spread. “He is resting comfortably at home.”

Adams’ tweet touched on her relationship with Lewis and lauded him for his work advocating for justice: “Words cannot do John Lewis Justice because everything he did was in the service of Justice. He gave everything – including his blood and his body – to the Movement. It was an honor to make ‘good trouble’ with John in the House, and I will miss both my friend and the man himself.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Adams and a “blog that focuses on news about historically black colleges & universities” were among those that spread the false rumor. However, it’s not clear where the rumor originated.

Lewis was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer last December, but told his constituents in a statement that he would continue to serve in Congress.

“While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance,” said the congressman at the time.

“So I have decided to do what I know to do, and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross,” said Lewis, later concluding the statement, “Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”

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