False report claimed John Lewis died, spokesman says he’s fine

ATLANTA — In a now deleted post on Twitter, North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams promoted a message that claimed Congressman John Lewis had died, sending fans and friends into a frenzy.

“Words cannot do John Lewis justice because everything he did was in the service of Justice,” the post on Adams’ account said. “He gave everything, including his blood and his body, to the Movement. It was an honor to make ‘good trouble’ with John in the House, and I will miss both my friend and the man himself.”

Less than 15 minutes later, a spokesperson for Lewis confirmed that not only is Lewis alive, he is “resting comfortably at home.”

A reporter for Atlanta-based WSB-TV said a spokesperson told her that Lewis is “fine.”

Adams apologized for the false report on Twitter.

“I am deeply sorry to Congressman John Lewis, his family, and his staff for the erroneous information posted to our social media accounts earlier today” one post reads. “Rep. Lewis is one of my friends and heroes, and I am relieved to know he is at home resting.”

Sam Spencer, deputy chief of staff and communications director for Adams, said he is the one that passed the incorrect information on to Adams and insinuated that he may have tweeted from her account.

“I take full responsibility for the erroneous information posted to [Rep. Adam’s] social media accounts today,” Spencer wrote. “It should have never happened. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to [Rep. John Lewis] and everyone who was as heartbroken as I was when they heard this hoax.”

Lewis, 80, is in treatment for advanced stage pancreatic cancer.

The Democrat congressman from Georgia is a civil rights activist, who at 25 was beaten so badly his skull was fractured during the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He was at the head of the march when he was knocked to the ground and beaten by police. The nationally televised images forced the country’s attention on the racial inequalities being fought by Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others.

The youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group once led by King, Lewis was arrested at least 40 times during the civil rights era and several more times as a congressman since being elected in 1986.

He said being elected to Congress “has been the honor of a lifetime.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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