Trump tweets he's 'saddened' by John Lewis' death, world leaders pay tribute

John Lewis died at the age of 80 Friday.

July 18, 2020, 2:19 PM

Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis died at the age of 80 Friday.

World leaders, politicians and celebrities alike are paying homage to the civil rights icon following the news of his death.

President Trump on Saturday, issued a proclamation at 11:11 a.m. to lower the flags at the White House and all federal buildings and grounds in recognition of Rep. Lewis.

Just a little after 2 p.m. ET, the president tweeted that he was "saddened" to hear of Lewis' passing.

Vice President Mike Pence released a statement on the death of Rep. John Lewis calling him a "great man whose courage and decades of public service changed America forever, and he will be greatly missed.

He called Lewis a friend who "Even when we differed, John was always unfailingly kind and my family and I will never forget the privilege of crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge at his side on the 45th anniversary of Bloody Sunday."

"Karen and I and send our prayers and deepest sympathies to his family and friends and all who mourn the passing of this good and great man. May God bless the memory of John Lewis and may his example ever inspire," Pence's statement concluded.

"Rep. John Lewis was an icon of the civil rights movement, and he leaves an enduring legacy that will never be forgotten. We hold his family in our prayers, as we remember Rep. John Lewis’ incredible contributions to our country," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a tweet.

Lewis died seven months after a routine medical visit revealed that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus confirmed the news of his death.

He represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District since 1987.

Here's a look at how politicians, celebrities and world leaders are mourning Lewis' death:

Former Vice President Joe Biden

"We are made in the image of God, and then there is John Lewis.

How could someone in flesh and blood be so courageous, so full of hope and love in the face of so much hate, violence, and vengeance? Perhaps it was the Spirit that found John as a young boy in the Deep South dreaming of preaching the social gospel; the work ethic his sharecropper parents instilled in him and that stayed with him; the convictions of nonviolent civil disobedience he mastered from Dr. King and countless fearless leaders in the movement; or the abiding connection with the constituents of Georgia’s 5th District he loyally served for decades.

Or perhaps it was that he was truly a one-of-a-kind, a moral compass who always knew where to point us and which direction to march.

It is rare to meet and befriend our heroes. John was that hero for so many people of every race and station, including us. He absorbed the force of human nature’s cruelty during the course of his life, and the only thing that could finally stop him was cancer. But he was not bitter. We spoke to him a few days ago for the final time. His voice still commanded respect and his laugh was still full of joy. Instead of answering our concerns for him, he asked about us. He asked us to stay focused on the work left undone to heal this nation. He was himself – a man at peace, of dignity, grace and character.

John’s life reminds us that the most powerful symbol of what it means to be an American is what we do with the time we have to make real the promise of our nation – that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally. Through the beatings, the marches, the arrests, the debates on war, peace, and freedom, and the legislative fights for good jobs and health care and the fundamental right to vote, he taught us that while the journey toward equality is not easy, we must be unafraid and never cower and never, ever give up.

That is the charge a great American and humble man of God has left us. For parents trying to answer their children’s questions about what to make of the world we are in today, teach them about John Lewis. For the peaceful marchers for racial and economic justice around the world who are asking where we go from here, follow his lead. For his fellow legislators, govern by your conscience like he did, not for power or party. He was our bridge – to our history so we did not forget its pain and to our future so we never lose our hope.

To John’s son, John Miles, and to his family, friends, staff, and constituents, we send you our love and prayers. Thank you for sharing him with the nation and the world.

And to John, march on, dear friend. May God bless you. May you reunite with your beloved Lillian. And may you continue to inspire righteous good trouble down from the Heavens," was the full statement made by Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.

PHOTO: (FILES) In this file photo taken on February 14, 2011 U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) (R) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama during an East Room event at the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC.
(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 14, 2011 U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) (R) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama during an East Room event at the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. - John Lewis, the non-violent civil rights warrior who marched with Martin Luther King Jr and nearly died from police beatings before serving for decades as a US congressman, has died at age 80, House colleagues said July 17, 2020. In December 2019, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Alex Wong/AFP via Getty Images

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