Congressman John Lewiswho rose from humble beginnings to become an iconic politician and civil-rights activisthas died of pancreatic cancer at age 80, media outlets reported.
He died on the same day as civil rights leader the Rev. Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian, who was 95.
Lewisa Democrat who served as the U. representative for Georgia's 5th Congressional District for more than three decadeswas widely seen as a moral conscience of Congress. By his count, Lewis ( a colleague of Martin Luther King Jr. ) was arrested at least 40 times for protesting against racial and social injustice.
Lewis was also an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights, having co-sponsored measures such as ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; the Early Treatment for HIV Act; the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act; and the Uniting American Families Act, among others. In October 2016, on National Coming Out Day, Lewis tweeted, "It doesn't matter if we are straight or gay or transgenderwe are one people, we are one family, we are one love. #NationalComingOutDay"
In 2011, Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.