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'His Passing Leaves A Tremendous Void': Reactions Pour In Following Death Of Rep. John Lewis

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- News of the death of Rep. John Lewis spread quickly on Saturday. Now the reaction to his death is pouring in from all over.

CBS3's Ukee Washington called Lewis "a true pioneer of civil rights."

"A true pioneer of civil rights and long time Congressman John Lewis has passed at the age of 80. He has been called one of the greatest heroes in American history! An outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America. Rep. Lewis described attending the inauguration of President Obama as an "out of body" experience!!! I can truly say, walking beside THIS man..I felt the very same way! Rest In Paradise Hero..job well done."

I stand.... on the shoulders of Giants! A true pioneer of civil rights and long time Congressman John Lewis has passed...

Posted by Ukee Washington on Friday, July 17, 2020

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney reacted to news of the death by saying that he has always considered John Lewis a hero and an inspiration.

"I am heartbroken over his death. Our country has lost an icon, a leader and one of its purest souls. John Lewis spent his entire life dedicated to the pursuit of freedom and justice--inspiring many of us along his journey."

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy remembered Lewis as "an activist, a statesman, and a leader."

"For 60 years, from his seat among the Freedom Riders to his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, John Lewis stirred the soul of America to live up to our greatest ideals of equality. In each and every action, large and small, John Lewis was the conscience of our nation. When he spoke, it was with authority and compassion.

"His passing leaves a tremendous void at this time in our history, as we finally begin, with earnestness, to dismantle the legacies of systemic racism which John committed his entire life to undoing. But John also knew that the movement of which he was a part from the very beginning would outlast even him, and that the next generation would continue the struggle and carry on the cause.

"Our nation and world mourn the passing of a true American icon. I mourn the passing of a role model. And, in our sorrow, let us commit to carrying on his work, and building upon the tremendous legacy which is John Lewis' lasting gift to us all."

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons called Lews one of his "heroes."

"John was one of my heroes, and I have been blessed to call him a friend. Always humble and generous, we traveled together on pilgrimages to Selma and Birmingham, to Charleston and Cape Town, to Memphis and to Montgomery.  Most of all, I will cherish the memory of hosting John in Delaware in 2015, when we visited an elementary school together, spoke with young community leaders, and held a town hall discussion on civil rights. Everyone who saw him that day - and every day - could not help but be inspired by the grace, decency and humor of a man whose fierce commitment to justice fundamentally changed our country for the better.

"We can honor John by following his example, demanding justice and dignity for every American, and starting what John liked to call 'Good Trouble.' We can remember him by never giving up on our pursuit of a more fair, more equal America."

Joe Biden also released a statement about the passing of Lewis.

He said in part, "We are made in the image of God, and then there is John Lewis. He was truly one-of-a-kind, a moral compass who always knew where to point us and which direction to march. To John's family, friends, staff, and constituents, Jill and I send you our love and prayers."

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey called Lewis a "great American" and says our nation will miss him.

Former President Barack Obama tweeted a link to a blog post dedicated to Rep. Lewis.

In it he said in part, "he loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example."

Saint Joseph's University also shared a memory of Lewis.

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