Virginia Rep. McEachin dies after cancer battle

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – US Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, died Monday at the age of 61 after a year-long battle with colon cancer.

McEachin, a three-time congressman, recently won re-election in the state’s 4th Circuit, which includes the cities of Richmond and Henrico and parts of Chesterfield and the Tri-Cities.

“We don’t do this for fame or glory. We do this because we like service,” he said earlier this month.

McEachin has been studying the health effects of cancer since 2013, according to his chief of staff, Tara Rountree. In 2019, he took time off from Washington, DC while recovering from surgeries. He then vowed to continue working for his constituents.

“We are all devastated by the death of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin,” Rountree said in a statement Monday. “For years we have watched bravely as he battled and triumphed over the aftermath of his 2013 colon cancer. Tonight he lost that fight and the people of Virginia’s fourth congressional district lost a hero who always, always fought for them and put them first.”

According to Rountree, the 4th Circuit office will remain open until a new representative is elected, reports WWBT.

“The family is asking for privacy at this time,” she said. “Precautions will be announced in the next few days.”

US Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said Monday that McEachin and his wife Colette have been “wonderful friends” for more than 30 years.

“To the end, Don was a fighter,” Warner said. “Though he’s battled cancer and faced other court cases in recent years, he never lost his focus on social and environmental justice. Tonight Virginia lost a great leader and I lost a great friend.”

US Senator Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, said he and McEachin “became fast friends” when they met in 1985.

“I was last with him on election night three weeks ago and celebrated his victory. He was a gentle giant, a compassionate champion of misfits, a climate campaigner, a Christian example, an understanding father, a proud husband, a devoted brother,” Kaine said in a statement.

US Rep. Alma Adams from North Carolina posted on Twitter that McEachin “was a Virginia fighter and wasn’t afraid to share stories about his personal battle with cancer so he could inspire others to get evaluated and see their doctor.”