02/06/2015 01:34 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2015

Mississippi Rep. Alan Nunnelee Dies At Age 56 After Battle With Cancer

Mississippi Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R) died Friday at age 56 after a battle with cancer.

"Congressman Alan Nunnelee has gone home to be with Jesus," Nunnelee's family said in a statement. "He was well loved and will be greatly missed."

Surgeons removed a brain tumor from Nunnelee in June 2014. During the surgery, Nunnelee suffered from a stroke.

Nunnelee had chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center in Baltimore, Maryland, in the time after his surgery. He was admitted to the hospital in January for a hematoma in his left leg.

Nunnelee wasn't well enough to travel to Washington, D.C., to be sworn in to the 114th Congress, so on Jan. 12, he was sworn in at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

A week before his death, Nunnelee's spokesman issued a statement saying no further medical treatment was possible.

Nunnelee was first elected to Congress in 2010, after he defeated Rep. Travis Childers (D) in a race to represent Mississippi's 1st District. He previously served in the Mississippi state Senate.

President Barack Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, were "saddened" to learn of Nunnelee's passing:

Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Representative Alan Nunnelee. Alan represented the people of his beloved Mississippi for two decades, first as a state senator and then in Congress. A proud son of Tupelo, Alan never wavered in his determination to serve the men and women who placed their trust in him, even as he bravely battled the illness that ultimately took his life. 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. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Alan’s family – his wife Tori, their children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) released the following statement on Nunnelee's death:

Alan Nunnelee served this House with grace and distinction. He was the rare calming presence in the cauldron of politics. He never let cancer get the best of him. We know this because, at the end of his life, all Alan asked of us was whether he made a difference. Indeed he did, very much so. But there is more to it than that. Because when you think about all the good Alan did and all the lives he touched, it is plain that he will continue to make a difference. 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.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released the following statement on Nunnelee's passing:

We are all saddened by the passing of Congressman Alan Nunnelee – who, throughout his time as a public servant, strived to represent his constituents with integrity and energy.

Today, the thoughts and prayers of Congressman Nunnelee’s colleagues on both sides of the aisle are with his family and friends. May it be a comfort to his widow, Tori, their three children, and the entire Nunnelee family that so many share in their sorrow at this difficult time.

This post has been updated with statements from Obama, Boehner and Pelosi.

Sabrina Siddiqui contributed to this report.



Notable People We've Lost In 2015