Civil Rights leader John Lewis dies aged 80

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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 Friday.

"Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

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She described Lewis, who was recently battling pancreatic cancer, as "a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation."

The son of sharecroppers, the African-American Lewis was among the youngest of the original Freedom Riders who fought segregation on the US transportation system in the early 1960s, eventually becoming one of the nation's most powerful voices for justice and equality.

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