Virginia State Sen. Ben Chafin (R) died on Friday after losing a battle against COVID-19, the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement.
The 60-year-old Republican’s death from complications due to COVID-19 followed two weeks of medical care for the illness at the VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, according to a statement obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Chafin had served Virginia’s 38th District after first being elected to the state’s House of Delegates in 2013 and moving onto the Senate in 2014. The state’s Republican Caucus fondly remembered Chafin who was also a cattle farmer and attorney for his “infectious smile and gregarious manner.”
Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith (R) offered condolences in a statement on Twitter lauding Chafin as a leader who “cared deeply for its people and was a tremendous advocate for them in the state Senate.”
“I will miss this good and dedicated public servant. My prayers are with his wife Lora and his family,” ” Griffith wrote.
In 2018, Chafin became one of four Republicans who successfully supported the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia.
The state’s governor Ralph Northam (D) ordered the state flag be flown at half-staff at Virginia’s Capitol until the senator’s interment and remembered Chafin as a “kind and gracious man” in a statement issued on Friday.
“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,” Northam said in the statement. “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.”
Chafin is survived by his mother, sister, wife, Lora Carr Chafin, three children and grandchildren.
The news of the state senator’s passing follows the death earlier this week of Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-LA) due to COVID-19 days before his swearing in.