LEBANON, Va. (WJHL) — Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin (R-Lebanon) died Friday from COVID-19 complications, the senator’s office confirmed Friday night.
Chafin had been hospitalized at VCU Medical Center for two weeks, according to a news release.
The Russell County native represented the 38th District, which includes several Southwest Virginia counties. He first served in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2013 before being elected to the state Senate in 2014.
Voters re-elected Chafin in 2019.
In a statement, Gov. Ralph Northam said “we have all lost a good man.” Del. Terry Kilgore called Chafin a true leader and a strong advocate for Southwest Virginia. U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith said Chafin was a “dedicated public servant” who cared deeply for the people of Southwest Virginia.
The governor ordered the Virginia state flag be lowered and flown at half-staff in the senator’s honor.
Chafin leaves behind his wife of 38 years and three adult children.
According to his office, a formal burial service will not be held, at Chafin’s request.
He was 60 years old.
“With the passing of Senator Ben Chafin, Southwest Virginia has lost a strong advocate—and we have all lost a good man.
“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. 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.
“Pam and I are praying for Lora and their children, and I have ordered the Virginia state flag to be lowered immediately in his honor and remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment.
“This is sad news to begin a new year with the loss of a kind and gracious man. May we all recommit to taking extra steps to care for one another.”Gov. Ralph Northam
“Senator Ben Chafin was a great legislator as well as a friend. As a native of Southwest Virginia, he 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.”Rep. Morgan Griffith