“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example,” Obama said in a statement after Lewis’ death.
Lewis famously broke ranks with Hillary Clinton, then a Senator from New York, and former President Bill Clinton, with whom he had a close friendship, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary to support her rival, Obama, who would then become the party’s nominee and the nation’s first Black president.
Obama awarded Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush will be in attendance, while the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Clinton is also expected to be there.
However, Deanna Congelio, a spokeswoman for former President Jimmy Carter, 95, and first lady Rosalyn Carter, 92, told NBC News the Carters will not attend. Carter, who is the oldest living president and a cancer survivor, was previously a Georgia state senator and served as governor of the state from 1971 to 1975.
“The Carters are not traveling these days but are sending their condolences in writing,” Congelio said.
Lewis’s services will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Thursday and will not be open to the public. He will then be buried next to his wife, Lillian, at South-View cemetery.
Lewis had laid in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda earlier this week, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers and members of the public paid their respects. He also had a ceremony in Selma, Alabama, at the sight of a voting rights march known as Bloody Sunday.