The eldest daughter of Republican Rep. Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin died following a battle with cancer, he announced on Tuesday.
In a statement released on social media, the retired Navy SEAL announced his daughter Sydney had lost her battle with what he called an “aggressive” cancer.
“It is with the most profound sense of grief and joy that Sara Jane and I announce the passing of our oldest daughter, Sydney Marie (Van Orden) Martens after a year of battling a very aggressive form of cancer,” the Republican from Wisconsin said.
Van Orden added:
“[Sydney] died peacefully surrounded by her family. We are heartbroken that we cannot share her smile and laugh in person any longer but are so thankful that she is resting with our Lord and that we were able to spend these years with her and her family.
“Sydney is survived by grandma Virginia Whitelock, husband Chris, daughter Madelyn, sons, Charlie and Roman, father and mother Derrick and Sara Jane, Sister Abigail (Williams), brothers, Theodore and Daniel, and many uncles, aunts, and cousins.”
Statement from Rep. Van Orden: pic.twitter.com/drkaUTtDvr
— Rep. Derrick Van Orden Press Office (@RepVanOrden) August 22, 2023
The congressman concluded, “Thank you for all of the tender mercies you have shown to our family. May God bless you all.”
A number of Van Orden’s congressional colleagues offered him their prayers and condolences on Twitter:
No parent should have to experience this kind of heartbreak. I’m praying for @RepVanOrden and his family during this tragic time.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) August 22, 2023
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) August 22, 2023
My thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Van Orden and his entire family. No parent should have to experience this kind of loss. https://t.co/e6te7DKO0L
— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) August 22, 2023
Godspeed. RIP. https://t.co/AYeZYRjGSd
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) August 22, 2023
Our hearts go out to the entire Van Orden family. Please join Jacquie and I in praying for them during this incredibly difficult time. https://t.co/pOH1rBJwKP
— Tom Emmer (@GOPMajorityWhip) August 22, 2023
Sending prayers to you and your family.
— Rep. Cory Mills 🇺🇸 (@RepMillsPress) August 22, 2023
— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) August 22, 2023
Van Orden is in his first year in the House and holds the seat that was vacated in January by former long-serving congressman Ron Kind, a Democrat.
Please keep Wisconsin GOP Congressman Derrick Van Orden in your prayers today.
His daughter, Sydney Marie, sadly lost her yearlong battle with cancer. https://t.co/6Uzl0YDaEZ
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) August 22, 2023
The congressman narrowly lost his first election for the seat in 2020 when Kind was elected for a final time by roughly 10,000 votes.
He defeated Democrat Brad Pfaff by just under 12,000 votes in his state’s third congressional district after Kind decided to retire.
Van Orden and his wife Sara have three surviving children and eight grandchildren.
The congressman said he was inspired to run for office during his time serving in the military after he witnessed “ineffectual” leadership.
Upon his retirement from the Navy, Van Orden acted in a number of films and authored “A Book of Man: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to the Lost Art of Manhood.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.