Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) died Monday night after battling cancer for many years, according to a statement from his office. He was 61.
“We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin,” Tara Rountree, his chief of staff, said in the statement. “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,” the statement continued. “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,” the statement concluded. “Arrangements will be announced over the next few days.”
— Rep. Donald McEachin (@RepMcEachin) November 29, 2022
McEachin had just won re-election earlier this month in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District where he has served ever since 2017. He was known for championing woke environmental justice and climate change policies.
The Washington Post reported that McEachin was a minister and that he said of his battle with cancer a couple of years ago, “God gets you to stuff, and then he gets you through stuff.”
The Post noted that while his battle with cancer had been known for years, news of his death “still caught many by surprise,” including Democrats.
L. Louise Lucas, president pro tempore of the Virginia state Senate, tweeted, “Hearing the news of his death sent a shock of pain through me tonight.”
I served in the General Assembly with Donald McEachin for over 20 years, watching him make history as the first ever African American nominee for Attorney General of VA in 2001 before he went to Congress. Hearing the news of his death sent a shock of pain through me tonight.
— L. Louise Lucas (@SenLouiseLucas) November 29, 2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced his death “with great sadness” in a statement, saying that he was “a tireless champion for Virginia families and a force for economic opportunity and environmental justice.”
“For two decades, Congressman McEachin was a distinguished leader on climate in Richmond: serving in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate,” Pelosi said. “His many contributions to our Select Committee on the Climate Crisis helped lay the essential groundwork for our climate action over the last two years, especially the important progress toward environmental justice.”
“Congressman McEachin understood that every family — whether in the East End of Richmond or any community across America — deserves clean air, clean water and a healthy planet,” the statement concluded. “He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, and he leaves behind a legacy that will improve the lives of all of our children for generations to come. May it be a comfort to his loving wife Colette, their dear children Mac, Briana and Alexandra, grandchild Gael and the entire McEachin family that so many join them in mourning during this sad time.”