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Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) revealed on Tuesday that he lost his oldest daughter this week after a year-long battle with cancer.
“It is with the most profound sense of grief and joy that Sara Jane and I announce the passing of our oldest daughter, Sydney Marie (Van Orden) Martens after a year of battling a very aggressive form of cancer,” he said in a statement.
The former U.S. Navy SEAL said that his daughter “died peacefully surrounded by her family.”
“We are heartbroken that we cannot share her smile and laugh in person any longer but are so thankful that she is resting with our Lord and that we were able to spend these years with her and her family,” he said. “Sydney is survived by grandma Virginia Whitelock, husband Chris, daughter Madelyn, sons, Charlie and Roman, father and mother Derrick and Sara Jane, Sister Abigail (Williams), brothers, Theodore and Daniel, and many uncles, aunts, and cousins.”
He thanked those who have reached out and shown his family love and support through this difficult time.
Statement from Rep. Van Orden: pic.twitter.com/drkaUTtDvr
— Rep. Derrick Van Orden Press Office (@RepVanOrden) August 22, 2023
Top Republicans and some Democrats expressed public support for Van Orden after he made the announcement.
“No parent should have to experience this kind of heartbreak,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). “I’m praying for @RepVanOrden and his family during this tragic time.”
The House Republican Conference tweeted, “We are all praying for @RepVanOrden and his family during this tragic time.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence tweeted: “@karenpence and I send our very deepest sympathies and prayers to Derrick, Sara Jane and their entire family. Such a loss. God bless and comfort you all.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) responded: “I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, @RepVanOrden. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones grieving this loss and I am keeping you in my thoughts during this difficult time.”