Rep. Donald McEachin, a Virginia Democrat recently elected to a fourth term in Congress, died Monday after nearly a decade with cancer. He was 61 years old.

McEachin was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2013, his chief of staff, Tara Rountree, said in a statement Monday.

“We are all devastated by the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin,” Rountree said. “Bravely, for years, we have watched him fight and triumph over the side effects of his 2013 colorectal cancer. 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.

McEachin’s death comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expected to be confident of securing every possible vote in the next Congress, when Republicans will narrowly control the House.

At the time of his death, McEachin was a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, and the Committee on Natural Resources.

He represented a district that included Richmond, Chesapeake, and Hampton Roads. Before being first elected to Congress in 2016, he worked as a lawyer and state legislator.

He won re-election in November by nearly 30 percentage points, underscoring the deep blue district’s Democratic leanings.

Growing up, McEachin was an army brat who spent the early years of his life in Europe before his family moved to Richmond when he was in the third grade. according to a profile published by the University of Virginiawhere he graduated from law school in 1986.

McEachin also earned a master of divinity from Virginia Union University in 2008.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who said he first met McEachin in 1985, he remembered it on monday as a «gentle giant, compassionate champion for the underdog, climate warrior, Christian role model, understanding father, proud husband, loyal brother.»

«Teach us how short our life is, that we may be wise,» Kaine said, quoting a verse from the Book of Psalms.

zoe richards contributed.