Virginia Rep. McEachin dies after cancer battle

U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, died Monday at age 61. He was a three-time congressman...
U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, died Monday at age 61. He was a three-time congressman and recently won re-election in the state’s 4th District.(Photo: Donald McEachin campaign)
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 10:53 PM CST

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/Gray News) - U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, died Monday at age 61 after a yearslong battle with colorectal cancer.

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

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

McEachin had been dealing with health effects from cancer since 2013, according to his chief of staff, Tara Rountree. In 2019, he took time away from Washington, D.C., as he recovered from surgeries. He vowed then to continue working for his constituents.

“We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin,” said Rountree in a statement on 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, and the people of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District lost a hero who always, always fought for them and put them first.”

Rountree says the 4th District office will remain open until a new representative is elected, WWBT reports.

“The family asks for privacy at this time,” she said. “Arrangements will be announced over the next few days.”

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

“Up until the very end, Don was a fighter,” Warner said. “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.”

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, said he and McEachin had “become fast friends” when they met in 1985.

“I was last with him on election night three weeks ago, celebrating his win. He was a gentle giant, a compassionate champion for underdogs, a climate warrior, a Christian example, an understanding dad, a proud husband, a loyal brother,” said Kaine in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams from North Carolina posted on Twitter that McEachin “was a fighter for Virginia, and he wasn’t afraid to share stories of his personal fight with cancer so he could inspire others to get screened and see their doctor.”