JERSEY CITY and PATERSON, NJ  - Two of his longtime colleagues in the House of Representatives are mourning the loss of Georgia Congressman, and Civil Rights icon, John Lewis. Representative Lewis passed away Friday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Including those celebrating his achievements was Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ-8) who said that it was a privilege to have “a titan of justice and civil rights like John Lewis as a colleague.”

“He truly was a good person who wanted us, and our nation, to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday,” Sires said before vowing to “continue to think of his optimism, dedication, and courage in the days ahead."

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Lewis, a survivor of “The Bloody Sunday” massacre in 1965 and an ally of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was one of the last living leaders of the Civil Rights movement and was also known as a champion of empowering youth and minority communities and encouraging activism.

Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-9) said that he was “devastated” by the passing of the man he called a friend, colleague, hero, and someone who “changed America.”

“It is a rare privilege to serve beside your idol for over 20 years and I have had that privilege.”

“It was John’s courage that helped finally pull our nation towards equality for all Americans. John is a giant and one of the great Americans of the last century,” Pascrell said of the man who he said inspired awe and reverence while being kind, joyful, optimistic, and generous. “John never refused a greeting or a request for a picture. John’s voice is irreplaceable. The best we can do is try to live up to his courage to make America a better place.

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