Rep. Alan Nunnelee, a Mississippi Republican, died Friday, his family confirmed. He was 56 years old.
“Congressman Alan Nunnelee has gone home to be with Jesus,” his family said in a statement. “He was well loved and will be greatly missed.”
Nunnelee, who unseated Democratic Rep. Travis Childers in 2010 as part of the GOP wave election that gave Republicans control of the House of Representatives, had struggled with complications related to brain cancer after being diagnosed in May of last year. Although Nunnelee returned to work after his initial surgeries, he remained mostly wheelchair-bound after suffering a stroke during one of the surgeries.
Last Friday, Nunnelee was informed that a new tumor had developed and no further medical treatment would be possible, according to NBC News.
Recently re-elected to his third term in Congress, Nunnelee was known a staunch conservative: “pro-life, pro-family, fiscally responsible … [and] a defender of the Second Amendment,” according to his House website biography. He served on the House Appropriations Committee, and was vice chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies.
“He was the rare calming presence in the cauldron of politics,” House Speaker John Boehner said Friday in a statement. “So we mourn now, for we will miss Alan, but we also celebrate the gift of his life and service, and all he meant to us as a friend and colleague. Let us pray that God holds Alan’s family close and gives them comfort in these difficult hours.” Boehner ordered that flags over the Capitol be flown at half-staff in his memory.
Nunnelee, a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Calvary Baptist, is survived by his wife, Tori, and three children, Reed, Emily and Nathan.