(Reuters) - U.S. Representative Alan Nunnelee, a third-term Republican congressman from Mississippi, died on Friday at age 56, his family said. He was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.
“Congressman Alan Nunnelee has gone home to be with Jesus,” his family said in a statement provided by Nunnelee’s congressional office. “He was well loved and will be greatly missed.”
Nunnelee had suffered a stroke in June while undergoing surgery to remove a tumor. Last month, doctors told him he had a new tumor and no further medical treatment was possible, a spokesman for Nunnelee said.
A fiscal and social conservative known as a staunch opponent of abortion, he served in the Mississippi state Senate before being elected in 2010 to represent the state’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“As a Sunday school teacher and a deacon at his church, Alan believed deeply in the power of faith and the strength of American families,” said U.S. President Barack Obama in a statement, praising Nunnelee’s service to constituents throughout his illness.
He served on the House Appropriations Committee, and its chairman described his colleague on Friday as a workhorse and loyal friend.
“Alan was one of those rare individuals that was driven, astute and loyal to God, family and country,” Congressman Hal Rogers said in a statement. “He was a true gentleman at his very core.”
Nunnelee was married with three adult children.
Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Eric Beech, Will Dunham, Sandra Maler and Lisa Shumaker