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Civil rights leader and U.S. congressman John Lewis passed away on Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 80.

Lewis, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a key figure in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, passed away a year after confirming he was battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

He was a Democrat, who represented a majority Black district covering most of Atlanta, Georgia.

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Lewis, left, is pictured with (L-R) civil rights leader C.T. Vivian, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and Lester McKinnie at Fisk University, an HBCU in Nashville on May 05, 1964. Rev. C.T. Vivian died this week in Atlanta at age 95.

Lewis was one of the 'Big Six' civil rights leaders, which included Martin Luther King, Jr., and he helped organize the historic 1963 March on Washington.

Upon news of his death on July 17, representatives from civil rights group the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) tweeted that they were "deeply saddened," noting: "His life-long mission for justice, equality and freedom left a permanent impression on our nation and world. The NAACP extends our sincerest condolences to his family, and we send prayers of comfort and strength to all."

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Blood-splattered Freedom Riders, John Lewis (left) and James Zwerg (right) stand together after being attacked and beaten by pro-segregationists in Montgomery, Alabama on May 20, 1961.

In a statement, former President Barack Obama said he had spoken with Lewis after a virtual town hall with a group of activists following the death of George Floyd.

Obama added that Lewis could not have been prouder of their efforts, writing, "a new generation standing up for freedom and equality".

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"Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did," he said. "And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders - to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise."

The White House praised Lewis' legacy on Twitter, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered flags at half-staff in honor of Lewis.

President Trump, who arrived at his Virginia golf course around 9:15 a.m. Saturday -- minutes after Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted about Lewis, did not acknowledge the civil rights leader's death on Twitter.

Lewis' death comes a week after a U.S. Congresswoman prematurely tweeted that he had died on July 11.

"It's only rumors," Michael Collins told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He is resting comfortably at home."

Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, who initially tweeted Lewis had died, apologized for her error.

"We deeply regret a previous tweet based on a false news report." According to AJC, "a blog that focuses on news about historically black colleges & universities" also falsely reported that Lewis was dead on July 11.

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Mary Kay Letourneau, the schoolteacher who married a former student she was convicted of raping, has died from cancer. She was 58.

Letourneau was a 6th grade teacher at an elementary school in Burien, a suburb of Seattle, when she began an inappropriate sexual relationship with then-12-year-old Vili Fualaau in 1996.

A friend of Letourneau's then-husband alerted the authorities about the relationship. Police caught Letourneau with the boy in a parked minivan at a marina in Des Moines, WA. at 1:20 a.m. on June 19, 1996.

Letourneau, a mother of four, initially told police the boy was 18. Both were fully clothed at the time, but police suspected something of a sexual nature had occurred.

Back at the police station, Letourneau, then 34, said she was babysitting Fualaau and took him home after she and her husband had a fight.

Letourneau and Fualaau's first daughter was conceived about two months later.

Letourneau pleaded guilty to two counts of child rape and was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of sex offender treatment.

The jail sentence was suspended on the condition that she agreed not to contact her adolescent baby daddy.

By then, Letourneau's husband had filed for divorce and moved out of state with their four minor children.

The couple's second daughter was conceived in 1998, before Letourneau was sentenced to serve more than 7 years in prison for child rape.

After Letourneau's early release from prison in 2004, Fualaau, then 20, applied to the court for permission to see her. The couple was married in 2005.

In 2017, Fualaau, then 33, filed for a legal separation from Letourneau, 55.

Fualaau told the NY Post he still loved his wife and they were happy together. He said the separation was for business purposes "in order to sell cannabis."

He said the separation would make it easier for him to obtain a license to sell "cigaweed" - marijuana cigarettes.

"It's not necessarily what you think. When you want to get licensed, they do background checks on both parties," he told the New York Post. "If I decide to be a part of it, I have to be licensed, and I have to be vetted, and so does a spouse. She has a past. She has a history."

Fualaau worked as a DJ in the Washington area but he wanted to start his own business.
The couple's story was the subject of books and a movie on USA Network, titled "All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story."
 

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NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal's sister Ayesha Harrison-Jex died Thursday night after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Harrison-Jex, 40, was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. O'Neal's co-host Ernie Johnson announced the sad news during the TNT's Inside the NBA sports program on Thursday.

O'Neal was noticeably absent during the sports analyst program that normally features O'Neal alongside Johnson, Charles Barkley, Candace Parker and Kenny Smith.

"I'm trying to put into words the way Shaquille has reacted to this, and he's struggling," Johnson said. "And when he struggles, we struggle with him. Because he's one of our brothers and we feel for him tonight."

Johnson added that O'Neal, 47, is currently in Orlando, Florida, with his family.

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Barkley said kind words to O'Neal's mother, Lucille O'Neal, who was there for his family when his mother died.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who was on the show, also sent his condolences to the O'Neal family.

"It's times like this when we're all together," Silver said.

Shaquille tweeted, "Thanks for the condolences and the love. If I had older brothers, it would be you 3. Love y'all and love you more Candice."

Harrison-Jex leaves behind a son Bryce, according to Johnson. She will be laid to rest in a military cemetery and will be buried next to O’Neal’s stepfather, Sgt. Phillip Harrison.

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