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Jimmy Carter honors John Lewis: His contributions 'will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come'

Jimmy Carter honors John Lewis: His contributions 'will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come'
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Former President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterQueen Elizabeth will need to call upon her charm for Biden's visit Is Biden the new FDR or LBJ? History says no Kevin McCarthy should meet the Ronald Reagan of 1978 MORE paid tribute to the late civil rights icon Rep. John LewisJohn LewisGarland vows fight against voting limits that violate law Black Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Manchin insists he supports voting rights — we'll see MORE (D-Ga.) in remarks read aloud at his funeral in Atlanta on Thursday.

Though a spokesperson for, Carter, 95, and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 92, told NBC News on Wednesday that the two would be unable to attend the funeral in person as they “are not traveling these days,” the former president sent prepared remarks that were read during the service on Thursday afternoon.

Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was baptized and preached along with his father, read the remarks from Carter. 

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“Three living presidents with us today. We have heard from yet another,” Warnock begins. 

“To the friends and family of Congressman John Lewis, Rosalynn joins me in sending our condolences to all gathered today to ... mourn the loss of one of our nation’s great leaders,” Jimmy Carter writes.

“Throughout his remarkable life, John has been a blessing to countless people and we are proud to be among those whose lives he has touched. While his achievements are enjoyed by all Americans, we Georgians know him as our neighbor, friend and representative,” the former president, a Georgia native, continues.

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“His enormous contribution will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come. Please know that you are in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time. We hope your warm memories and the love and prayers of your families and friends will be of comfort to you in the days ahead,” he adds.

Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton delivered remarks honoring Lewis’s memory in-person at the service on Thursday, meaning all four living former presidents paid respects to Lewis on the day of his funeral. 

Lewis died at the age of 80 earlier this month. His death comes several months after he announced he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer back in December

At his funeral, top lawmakers, former presidents and friends and family remembered Lewis, one of the first Freedom Riders who was also the youngest person to speak at the March on Washington in 1963, for his lifelong commitment to fighting racial injustice and voter suppression.

This week, Lewis also became the country’s first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda.