COVID-19 has been cited as the cause of another prominent politicians’ death.
Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin, a Republican, died this week of complications from his infection with the virus, according to his office. He was 60 years old.
“Two weeks of medical services”
The Virginia Senate Republican Caucus and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam subsequently confirmed Chafin’s death in their respective statements on the matter.
According to WTVR, the state senator’s office issued a statement on Friday offering his family’s gratitude for the medical professionals who cared for him prior to his death.
“The family of Senator Chafin thank the VCU Medical Center in Richmond for its vigorous care and heartfelt support during his two weeks of medical services there,” the statement read.
First elected to the General Assembly in 2013, Chafin joined the state Senate the following year. He is Virginia’s first serving lawmaker to die as a result of COVID-19. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Lora, their three children, his mother, and a sister.
Condolences from both sides of the political aisle soon poured in, including a heartfelt statement from Northam.
“We have all lost a good man”
“With the passing of Senator Ben Chafin, Southwest Virginia has lost a strong advocate — and we have all lost a good man,” he wrote.
The governor went on to describe the late senator “as a lawmaker, an attorney, a banker, and a farmer raising beef cattle in Moccasin Valley, working the land just as generations of his family had done before him.”
Northam ordered the state flag to be lowered to half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment. In addition to Chafin’s commitment to “bring jobs and investment to his district,” the governor said he would “always be grateful for his courageous vote to expand health care for people who need it.”
The senator’s death came as a surprise to many Virginians, as his medical condition had been largely kept under wraps by his family and office, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Some friends and members of his church posted social media requests for prayer, but few details came directly from his official representatives.
His family is expected to forgo a traditional burial service and requests that gifts in his memory be made to his church’s food bank.