On Sunday, U.S. Representative John Lewis announced that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The 79-year-old civil rights icon and representative for Atlanta’s 5th Congressional District said in a statement, “I’ve been in some kind of fight—for freedom, equality, basic human rights—for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like this one.” Lewis said he intends to stay in office as he undergoes treatment. “I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back out on the front lines soon.”
Shortly after the statement was released, constituents, fellow politicians, celebrities, and other fans of Democratic congressman took to Twitter to send support and share favorite stories about Lewis. Here’s a sampling of what was said:
#JohnLewis is alive.
Let’s not bury him in response to a diagnosis, no matter how dire.
Encourage him. pic.twitter.com/5kaDIj174O
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) December 30, 2019
If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 30, 2019
John Lewis is my hero, mentor, and a fighter for good. He will need our love and prayers for his strength as he battles to regain his health.
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) December 29, 2019
One of my favorite things at the start of every new Congress has been catching freshmen seeing, then meeting, John Lewis for the first time. Either party. The combo of star struck, awe, genuine thrill is always so great.
Tough to put into words reverence for him among members.
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) December 29, 2019
John Lewis has always been a fighter and I know he will approach this challenge the same way: with passion, grit, and determination. Along with millions of people, @GAFirstLady, the girls, and I are praying for @repjohnlewis and his family. #gapol https://t.co/YzV31rIG5u
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) December 29, 2019
John Lewis, Inman Park Festival Parade, 4/27/2019, a day that really celebrated diversity and love of all kinds. If you don’t live in Atlanta, it’s hard to appreciate how much @repjohnlewis means to the community in his district and how much he still loves to be a part of it. pic.twitter.com/S9O1qDoL0p
— @DukeStJournal (@DukeStJournal) December 30, 2019
One of my favorite things about John Lewis is how he stops to say hello and thank Capitol Police officers on his way out of the House floor, as all of his colleagues are sprinting to their next meeting or on their phones. A giant of history and just a kind person. https://t.co/uOfIvWSBIZ
— Daniel Malloy (@DanielPMalloy) December 30, 2019
This hit me very, very hard. I don’t know anyone living who has done more to make this country a democracy for ALL people than John Lewis. I cannot think of a time he has not been on the right said of justice. I’m not even a praying person but offering some tonight. https://t.co/c5Gw7d0y72
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) December 29, 2019
If you run into @repjohnlewis, no matter where you are or in how much of a hurry he is, he will stop to warmly clasp your hand, look you in the eye, and tell you to come visit him sometime in Washington. It feels like being blessed. He’s in Atlanta’s thoughts tonight.
— Katie Lambert (@KatieELambert) December 30, 2019
It remains the greatest honor and privilege of my life to work in @repjohnlewis' office. He gave me a tour around the Capitol while I was there and it's an experience I'll always remember.
— Jeremiah Olney (@JeremiahOlney) December 29, 2019
I am praying for my dear friend John Lewis.
This may be a new fight – but I know that we will soon add this to the long list of things he has overcome.
We need his leadership now more than ever. I stand with you my friend. pic.twitter.com/n8chCdvWzw
— Lucy McBath (@lucymcbath) December 30, 2019
Last year I got to ask @repjohnlewis to record a brief video message for my little sister, who had been learning about him in class. Many politicians wouldn't have taken even the 20 seconds he did to make a stranger's day, let alone been so profound. Keep fighting, Congressman. pic.twitter.com/WLwHOpo7gF
— Elijah J. Mears (@ElijahJMears) December 30, 2019
— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) December 30, 2019
— Pete Souza (@PeteSouza) December 30, 2019
— Mary S. Campbell (@SpelmanPres) December 30, 2019
— Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) December 30, 2019
— Killer Mike (@KillerMike) December 30, 2019
The man is a living bridge to a time in our country of almost incomprehensible turmoil & cruelty and also, because of people like him, hope. Carry on, John Lewis. https://t.co/oZ0N72mhay
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) December 30, 2019
Congressman Lewis has fought to heal our nation and now he fights for his own healing. The people of the 5th district, the nation, and I will fight alongside my hero, and my friend with our prayers and all the tools and resources that we have. https://t.co/L0w65wczTi
— Andre Dickens (@Andre4Atlanta) December 29, 2019
.@repjohnlewis is America’s conscience and Georgia’s heart. We stand with him as he fights one more battle – to defeat pancreatic cancer. As he wages that war, he continues to do the people’s work, buoyed by the prayers and good will of millions. God bless you, my friend.
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) December 30, 2019
I was tangentially involved in local democratic politics when I lived in Atlanta, and I was fortunate enough to meet John Lewis on two occasions, and he’s even more impressive in person than his reputation would lead you to believe. Tragic news, wishing him and his the best. https://t.co/ExPU0aFGx6
— ira (@irapolis) December 30, 2019
John Lewis reminds us that there is awesome power in humility, and I cannot remember a time when such a reminder is more needed.
— Jay Bookman (@jaysbookman) December 30, 2019
I keep a photo of Rep. John Lewis in my office at the Smithsonian Castle, not only because he was crucial to the creation of @NMAAHC but because he has been a champion for a freer and fairer America for decades. I'm sending John my best wishes and deepest appreciation. pic.twitter.com/0IfNn2jIHq
— Lonnie G. Bunch III (@SmithsonianSec) December 30, 2019
I see this giant often…coming out of Mary Macs
I pull my motorcycle over and holler….John Lewis
he always walks over and we exchange a few words
always a gentleman…am proud to have met him
My prayers and respect…Atlanta loves you
— will@14midtown (@will14midtown1) December 30, 2019
I saw John Lewis once in a mall in Atlanta. We were both shopping for ties. I walked up to him to thank him for his frontline fight for civil rights. Congressman Lewis is someone we should cherish because he’s sacrificed so much for our country’s advancement.
— David Bishop (@dlb100b) December 29, 2019
We love you John Lewis. You’re our North Star. https://t.co/O5xkdythsv
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) December 29, 2019
If there’s anyone with the strength and courage to fight this, it’s you, John. Hillary and I love you, and we join with millions of other Americans in praying for you and your family. https://t.co/gNVEu1dijU
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) December 29, 2019
Praying for my friend, @repjohnlewis as he begins his fight against cancer. They don’t make them stronger or braver, and I’m confident he will take on this challenge as he has every other he’s faced: with courage and determination fueled by his strong faith.
— Johnny Isakson (@SenatorIsakson) December 30, 2019
We are all on his team now and always… pic.twitter.com/MWMHtQhjMj
— Doug Shipman (@DougShip) December 30, 2019
Tonight’s reading — a book that changed my life — the memoirs of a towering figure in American history and a legendary fighter for human rights.
John Lewis is tough and tireless and he remains in that fight. May he serve Georgia, the nation, and humanity for many years to come! pic.twitter.com/NnvvZorvKm
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) December 29, 2019
— Senator Nikema Williams (@NikemaWilliams) December 30, 2019
Five years ago in NYC, I ran into civil rights hero John Lewis. As always, he was kind and generous with his time. This truly good man (and now my Atlanta representative) is fighting pancreatic cancer. He's faced many battles in his lifetime; may he win this one. pic.twitter.com/FOPJ8iS65n
— Marilyn Geewax (@geewaxnpr) December 30, 2019
When I moved to Cleveland from Atlanta (because I could do more Civil Rights work) I was at an event & a woman had on a John Lewis T-shirt & I was SO homesick! I just shouted JOHN LEWIS! waving to her. And she came over to talk. We talked about how wonderful he is.
— elle sea (@pentimentos) December 30, 2019
I took this photograph of John Lewis at the foot of the Edmund Pettis Bridge on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.
This man is my hero.
Praying for him. pic.twitter.com/CUNBsbmmuu
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) December 30, 2019
The @repjohnlewis, I know has been a fighter all his life and I know through it all the fight is just beginning! Americans and myself across the country will have John and his family in there prayers! We love you John, and will be there standing #Strong with you! #JohnLewis pic.twitter.com/u13odE8X27
— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) December 30, 2019
If there’s anyone who can beat this, it’s John Lewis. He is a warrior. Bonnie and I join Georgians, and the entire nation, in praying for him in the days ahead. https://t.co/Me9tl0wI8z
— David Perdue (@Perduesenate) December 30, 2019
For more than 50 years, #JohnLewis has been this nation’s moral compass. Few have carried that burden longer or with more grace and determination. He has fearlessly paved a path toward justice with unerring fortitude and his own blood. He deserves every blessing we can offer.
— Renee Graham (@reneeygraham) December 30, 2019
Pancreatic cancer has chosen a formidable opponent. Give it hell @repjohnlewis. Can you hear all the people praying for you?
Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis says he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer https://t.co/IGXqh3h5DN
— Ann Curry (@AnnCurry) December 30, 2019
“So I have decided to do what I know to do. . .I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.”
Fight on. We’re not ready for you to cross the bridge to eternity. Fight on.https://t.co/xwMlQrRCBZ
— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) December 29, 2019
One of the most decent, inspiring men I’ve met in covering politics for all these years. He’s a civil rights hero, and as passionate a patriot as we’ve produced. The key to him is that he sees no conflict between the two; indeed, they’re the same thing. https://t.co/uisAWtT25Z
— Howard Fineman (@howardfineman) December 30, 2019
No greater orator has walked the House floor than John Lewis. No greater gentleman, no greater statesman … John Lewis has never shrunk from a righteous fight & will combat this one like any other—w/determination & courage. He is a friend & an inspiration, a confidante & leader.
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) December 30, 2019
When you look up “hero” in the dictionary, you should find a picture of John Lewis. For decades, he has given our nation the gift of “good trouble.” @repjohnlewis, America will be right beside you in this battle, just as you’ve been there for us. https://t.co/xs7tPWYVib
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) December 29, 2019
During the toughest times of his life — and more often to inspire the lives of his fellow citizens — this has been the advice of @repjohnlewis. As he takes on a new fight in his life, he will not be alone. We are with you, Congressman. https://t.co/NIpY3oMvAW
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) December 29, 2019
John Lewis took part in sit-ins when he was just 20, was beaten up during the Freedom Rides when he was 21, was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington at 23, and had his skull fractured in Selma during Bloody Sunday – at the age of 25.
Keep fighting, Mr Lewis. https://t.co/qOCU4NnFkk
— Kiran Moodley (@kirancmoodley) December 29, 2019
God bless John Lewis. A leader, a teacher, an example for us all. #goodtrouble
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) December 30, 2019
There is no more important New Year's resolution, and it begins right now: pray for John Lewis. https://t.co/A8ZTSbUKJr
— Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) December 29, 2019
News that congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis has cancer strikes hard. I’ve known John for over 50 years and he’s always been a fighter, undeterred.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) December 29, 2019
John Lewis is an American hero & one of the bravest people I know. It was the honor of my life to get into good trouble with him on the campaign trail. Praying for you, brother. pic.twitter.com/uzfTnsot8j
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) December 30, 2019
I'm going to head into my prayer closet and pray for Congressman John Lewis. He is a strong soldier for justice, but even more, one of the kindest and most generous people I'm honored to know, even just a bit.
My heart can't take him not being well. pic.twitter.com/UVofywHSfC
— brittany packnett cunningham (@MsPackyetti) December 30, 2019
— Niles Francis (@NilesGApol) December 29, 2019
.@RepJohnLewis, we are all praying for you following this diagnosis. John, know that generations of Americans have you in their thoughts & prayers as you face this fight. We are all praying that you are comfortable. We know that you will be well. pic.twitter.com/j7YMUGLPC2
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 29, 2019
I think we must send as much love as we can in this man’s direction. Our world – a world he has worked tirelessly to make better – is so much brighter so long as he’s in it. Get well @repjohnlewis, you are one of the best angels of our nature. https://t.co/fZHZzUCYHF
— Ken Olin (@kenolin1) December 29, 2019
— The King Center (@TheKingCenter) December 30, 2019