Colleagues of the late Sen. Martin Nesbitt are planning to gather in western North Carolina to bid the lawmaker farewell and honor his legacy representing mountain constituents.
Nesbitt's funeral was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at a Baptist church in Buncombe County. He died last Thursday from stomach cancer at age 67.
Members of both parties have praised the Asheville Democrat for a more than 30-year legislative career in which he was Senate majority leader and a top budget writer in the House. He relinquished the post of Senate minority leader three days before he died.
Nesbitt was the primary voice in the Senate opposing the legislature's Republican-dominated agenda.
Current minority leader and former House Speaker Dan Blue was expected to speak at the funeral. The burial is private.
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State Sen. Martin Nesbitt, who this week stepped down as minority leader because of illness, has died. He was 67.
Senate Democratic Caucus Director Ford Porter said Nesbitt died Thursday after being diagnosed last week with stomach cancer.
It was on Wednesday that a group of well-wishers lined a road near Interstate 40 to welcome the Asheville lawmaker home. He arrived back home in an ambulance.
Nesbitt had served in the Legislature since the early 1980s. He became majority leader in 2009 when Democrats controlled the Senate and after Sen. Tony Rand left the Legislature. He became minority leader in 2011 when Republicans took over the chamber.
A statement from the state Democratic Party said North Carolina has lost a leader and champion of exemplary and distinguished public service.