By Jack Fink

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas Congressman Ron Wright died Sunday, Feb. 7, after battling lung cancer and COVID-19.

He was 67.

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The Conservative lawmaker from Arlington became the first member of Congress to die related to the virus.

Both Republicans and Democrats praised Wright as a dedicated public servant and a genuinely nice guy.

Congressman Ron Wright (credit: Congressman Ron Wright’s office)

President Joe Biden issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

Jill and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Congressman Ron Wright. A sixth-generation son of Tarrant County, Ron served the people of Arlington as a city councilor, as mayor pro tempore, as a county tax assessor-collector, as a long-time congressional staffer, and as a member of Congress representing the Sixth District.

He was also a fighter who battled bravely against both cancer and COVID-19, diseases that our nation will continue working tirelessly every day to defeat in the memory of all those we have lost. Our prayers are with Ron’s wife, Susan, their three children, and their nine grandchildren.

Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement. saying, “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of U.S. Rep. Ron Wright. Ron was a principled leader who fought to preserve Texas values and was an exemplary representative of his district. His personal strength and commitment to standing up for the unborn were unwavering. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy for future generations of Texans.”

Rep. Wright announced January 21, that he tested positive for COVID-19, after coming into contact the week before with someone who had the virus.

State Senator Kelly Hancock, Republican of North Richland Hills said, “Those of us that have known him for a long time just know, a man of impeccable character, integrity. And a guy that had a smile on his face each and every day, you always felt like he was having a good day, regardless of what he was going through.”

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Wright had also been battling lung cancer while in office, but kept up with the travel and all of his commitments as much as he could.

Republican Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said, “On top of that, to have to fight something that requires every ounce of your strength, I was always in awe of how he was able to do that. Whenever I talked with him, again, that positive, that optimistic attitude, always came out.”

Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey, whose district bordered on Wright’s, said the two worked together helping General Motors with its Arlington plant and also with the National Medal of Honor Museum, which is set to open in Arligton’s entertainment district in 2024.

Veasey said, “We didn’t always see eye to eye on a lot of different issues. But he was genuinely someone that, that I wouldn’t even say that he worked hard to get along with other people. He just naturally got along with people. He was just that affable of a person.”

Before his election to Congress in 2018, Wright served as Tarrant County’s Tax Assessor-Collector and a member of the Arlington City Council.

Rick Barnes, Chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party said, “I think people will always just remember him as being one of those guys that everybody could reach out to. He was extremely friendly, and I think his legacy will be a conservative mindset and and he served the party well. He also just served people because he was a people person.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

At some point, Governor Abbott will set a special election, which will either happen on Saturday, May 1, when municipal elections are set to be held, or at an earlier date.

During an interview in August of 2019, Congressman Wright was determined not to let cancer define him. “You don’t stop living, you don’t stop trying, you don’t stop working, you don’t stop dreaming, you don’t stop doing the things you enjoy, and you don’t stop trying to make a difference.”

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