Virginia Democratic congressman Donald McEachin dies

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FILE PHOTO: Protesters rally against racial inequality in Richmond

(Reuters) -U.S. Representative Donald McEachin, a Democrat from Virginia who was recently re-elected to his fourth term in Congress, died on Monday aged 61, his office said.

McEachin had been battling colorectal cancer since 2013, his chief of staff, Tara Rountree, said in a statement.

“Until a new representative is elected, our office will remain open and continue to serve our constituents,” she said.

No details about a special session to replace McEachin were announced, but regardless of the outcome, the Republicans are expected to maintain a thin majority over the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

“It is with great sadness that I join Virginians tonight in mourning the loss of Congressman Donald McEachin: a tireless champion for Virginia families and a force for economic opportunity and environmental justice,” U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

Republicans won at least 220 seats in the Nov. 8 election against 213 by the Democrats, with five seats still to be determined.

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McEachin defeated Republican challenger Leon Benjamin Sr. by about 30 points in Virginia’s fourth congressional district, which includes the state capital, Richmond.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Additional reporting by Urvi Dugar; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez)

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