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Ava DuVernay leads tributes to civil rights leader John Lewis

He led protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965.


Ava DuVernay (Ian West/PA)

Ava DuVernay (Ian West/PA)

Ava DuVernay (Ian West/PA)

Ava DuVernay, Samuel L Jackson and Viola Davis are among the stars paying tribute to civil rights hero John Lewis after his death at the age of 80.

The Georgia congressman was one of the Big Six civil rights leaders, who included Martin Luther King Jr, and helped organise the 1963 March on Washington.

He was best known for leading some 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

He announced in December that he had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.

DuVernay, who directed the film Selma about the 1965 march, wrote on Twitter: “Thank you for your care and kindness, your advice and understanding.

“Will never forget what you taught me and what you challenged me to be. Better. Stronger. Bolder. Braver. God bless you, Ancestor John Robert Lewis of Troy, Alabama. Run into His arms.”

Davis tweeted: “Rest in Heavenly peace Mr. John Lewis. Thank you for your service, for your commitment to change and your courage.

“You did great with your time on this earth. “Goodnight sweet Prince. May flights of angels sing the to thy rest.” And…pour some blessings on us down here.”

His death was announced hours after civil rights leader Rev Cordy Tindell “CT” Vivian died aged 95.

Jackson wrote on Twitter: “What A Day… now, John Lewis. Sometimes it’s Good to meet a Hero… I was blessed every time we met. RI POWER, Sir.”

He added: “#thestrugglecontinues#BLM#VOTE.”

Rapper and producer Diddy shared a photo of them together and wrote: “Thank you King John Lewis for your lifetime of service for our community. We will finish what you started ON GOD!”

Meanwhile director Rob Reiner wrote: “John Lewis stood for everything America should be. And, God willing, will be.”

Lewis entered politics in 1981, when he was elected to the Atlanta City Council and he won his seat in Congress in 1986.