Ben Chafin, Virginia state senator, dead at 60 from coronavirus

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A 60-year-old Republican state senator from Virginia has died from coronavirus complications, the senator’s office confirmed Friday night, according to reports.

Sen. Ben Chafin of Lebanon in Russell County died earlier in the day after spending the past two weeks being treated at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, WRIC-TV of Richmond reported.

Several state lawmakers posted tributes to Chafin on social media.

"Amanda and I are heartbroken to learn of the passing of our dear friend Senator Ben Chafin," Republican state Sen. Todd Pillion wrote. "Ben loved life, his family, his work, and the people of Southwest Virginia, for whom he advocated tirelessly."

"So sad to hear of the passing of our friend and colleague, Senator Ben Chafin," wrote Republican state Sen. Israel O’Quinn. "It’s a hugfe loss for SWVA and for his family and we all need to keep them in our prayers."

Chafin, a native of Virginia, had served in the state Senate since September 2014 after previously serving in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin listens to debate on the floor of the Senate during the session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Feb. 28, 2020. (Associated Press)

Chafin was known as an advocate of Second Amendment gun rights. In 2018, he sponsored legislation to allow guns in churches following a shooting tragedy in Texas the previous year that left more than two dozen worshippers dead.

In 2015, Chafin fought on behalf of Virginia farmers and ranchers against on Obama-era water-regulation plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that Chafin viewed as an overreach.

Chafin leaves behind a wife of 38 years and three adult children, WRIC reported.

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