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Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin dies of COVID-19 complications

Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin Jr. has died after complications from COVID-19, his office announced. He was 60.

Representatives said he died Friday after undergoing treatment for two weeks at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond.

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the state lost a "strong advocate" and a "good man" with Chafin's death.

"I knew Ben as a lawmaker, an attorney, a banker, and a farmer raising beef cattle in Moccasin Valley, working the land just as generations of his family had done before him," he said. "He loved the outdoors, and he loved serving people even more. He pushed hard to bring jobs and investment to his district, and I will always be grateful for his courageous vote to expand health care for people who need it."

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Northam ordered the state flag to be lowered to half-staff at the Capitol until the day of Chafin's interment.

The state senator's office said his family doesn't plan to hold a formal burial service. He is survived by his wife, Lora Carr Chafin, and three children -- Sophia Chafin Vance, Audra Chafin Hobart and Augustus Benton Chafin III.

Chafin is one of several state and federal lawmakers to have died from the novel coronavirus. U.S. Rep-elect Luke Letlow died Tuesday, Wyoming state Rep. Roy Edwards died Nov. 2, New Hampshire state Rep. Dick Hinch died Dec. 9, Minnesota state Sen. Jerry Relph died Dec. 18, Louisiana state Rep. Reggie Bagala died April 9 and South Dakota state Rep. Bob Glanzer died April 3.

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