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Virginia Representative Donald McEachin dies at 61 after cancer battle

Representative McEachin listened to debate on the floor of the Virginia state Senate in Richmond, Va., in 2015.Steve Helber/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — US Representative Donald McEachin died Monday after a battle with colorectal cancer, his office said. The Virginia Democrat was 61.

Tara Rountree, Representative McEachin’s chief of staff, said in a statement late Monday: “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.”

He represented Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District, which includes part of Richmond and extends south to the North Carolina border. He was reelected to a fourth term earlier this month.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called her late colleague “a tireless champion for Virginia families and a force for economic opportunity and environmental justice.”

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His Virginia colleague, Senator Mark Warner, released a statement saying: “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.”

Aston Donald McEachin was born Oct. 10, 1961, in Nuremberg, West Germany. His father was an Army veteran and his mother a school teacher.

He 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. He was elected to his first term to the US House in 2016.

Representative McEachin and his wife, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin, raised three children, Mac, Briana and Alexandra.