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Mayor of Jackson Dies: Reaction From Residents, Colleagues

JACKSON, Miss.–The news Tuesday that Jackson Mayor Chockwe Lumumba died unexpectedly left many implications in its wake. The news also brought on reaction from residents, city leaders and state-wide elected officials.

The first course of action was to swear in an acting mayor. That was city council president Charles Tillman.

“We all said sometimes, jokingly, that maybe you ought to be a city council member first, so you understand both roads. We’re gonna miss an honorable man,” Tillman told News Mississippi.

Lumumba served as Ward 2 councilman before being elected mayor.

“We didn’t always agree about everything, but he was someone you could talk to,” said Councilman Melvin Prister. “You could air it out.”

News Mississippi’s Iris Barnes talks with several people after Lumumba’s death: AUDIO:

Following the giant social media onslaught, Cong. Bennie Thompson Tweeted:

I am deeply saddened by the death of my friend, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. My condolences to his family and the City of Jackson.

Thompson worked with Lumumba to help with his election.

Gov. Phil Bryant released this statement:

Deborah and I are shocked and saddened by the news of Mayor Lumumba’s passing and are praying for his loved ones. Just a short time ago, I had the opportunity to join the mayor in a church pew as we welcomed a new development to the city. His enthusiasm for Jackson will be deeply missed.

Lumumba, a Detroit native, was a lawyer who gained some fame as a Civil Rights activist and defender of clients like TuPac Shakur.

He had suffered from cancer, but had told media he was a survivor and everything was under control. His death came after chest pains and being rushed to the hospital.

Lumumba is the second Jackson mayor in recent years to die in office. Frank Melton, also a controversial figure, died after collapsing on election night in 2009. He may have never known he lost a second term.

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