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Virginia Congressman Donald McEachin dies at 61

Donald McEachin, the congressman representing Virginia's 4th Congressional District, has died, 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," the representative's chief of staff, Tara Rountree, said in a 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."

Rountree said the late congressman's office would remain open until a new representative is elected. 

McEachin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016. He had just won reelection in the November midterms a few weeks before his death.

Richmond celebrates the dedication of Arthur Ashe Blvd and the state's 400th anniversary exhibition Determined: The 400-year Struggle for Black Equality.
Congressman Donald McEachin speaks during the dedication of Arthur Ashe Boulevard Saturday, June 22, 2019 at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond, Va. Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images

McEachin had previously served in the Virginia Senate from 2008 to 2017 and in the Virginia House of Delegates two times from 1996 to 2002 and then again from 2006 to 2008.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said in a statement that "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."

The Democratic Party of Virginia said it was "thankful for the life and legacy of Congressman Donald McEachin and extend our sincere sympathies to his wife, Colette, and the entire McEachin family."

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.

McEachin and his wife, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin, raised three children.  

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