RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Following the sudden death of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Richmond community members are reflecting on the impact he has had in their lives.

Just a few weeks ago, McEachin celebrated his re-election at The Len on 17th Street in Shockoe Bottom. The Len’s owner, Tiffany Cole, said she was shocked when she first heard of McEachin’s passing.

“He was just a great servant. It’s a big loss for the community,” she said.

Cole said the memory of McEachin’s victory on election night was bittersweet.

“When he finally came in, it was a big celebration. He had this huge smile on his face — he and his wife and his supporters,” Cole said. “He is well known and has really made a difference in the city.”

Cole isn’t the only one who feels this way. William Kidd, a Democratic supporter, told 8News that McEachin was an inspiration.

“A man who was for our people that stood proud and showed dignity,” Kidd said. “You don’t have too many people of our race that is on the vote count.”

The son of an army veteran and a teacher, McEachin grew up in the Richmond area. Before becoming a U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, McEachin served twice in the Virginia House of Delegates and in the Virginia Senate representing Charles City County and parts of Henrico County and Richmond.

McEachin was a passionate environmentalist, civil rights advocate and public servant.

In 2019, after recovering from cancer treatment and returning to Congress, McEachin’s staff reported he had experienced “ongoing complications” related to chemotherapy and radiation. According to Tara Rountree, his Chief of Staff, it was that same battle with colorectal cancer that McEachin eventually lost on Monday night.

“We were just saying ‘oh, it would be great to get a picture with him.’ Well, I said ‘let him have his night. Let him celebrate. We’ll get a picture another day.’ Now, I wish we would’ve captured that night,” Cole said.