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Virginia Sen. Ben Chafin dies of COVID-19

In this Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, file photo, Virginia State Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Russell, listens to debate on the floor of the Senate during the session at the Capitol in Richmond.
In this Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, file photo, Virginia State Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Russell, listens to debate on the floor of the Senate during the session at the Capitol in Richmond. (Steve Helber/AP)

RICHMOND — Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin has died after contracting the coronavirus, Senate Republicans said Friday.

Chafin represented southwest Virginia and was from Russell County. A Republican, he was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2013 and then moved to the state Senate in 2014. He was 60.

Lawmakers from around the state mourned Chafin’s death late 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,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “He loved the outdoors, and he loved serving people even more.”

“He served to ensure that his region and community, and the people he loved, would never be forgotten,” Senate Republicans said in a statement.

Chafin is the first Virginia lawmaker to die from the virus.

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