Charles Evers passed away this week. He was 97. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

Civil rights activist and politician Charles Evers, brother of slain NAACP leader Medgar Evers, died Wednesday morning in Brandon, his family said. He was 97.

“The world lost a fearless Civil Rights leader this morning,” a statement from his family said. “… The life mission of Charles Evers was to advance the work of his beloved brother, who was assassinated on June 12, 1963. After his killing, Charles Evers rushed to Jackson to take his brother’s place as field secretary for the Mississippi NAACP and in 1969 he became Mississippi’s first black mayor since Reconstruction in a biracial town (Fayette) … Our family is heartbroken and proud of his legacy.”

Charles Evers ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1971 and for U.S. Senate in 1978, as an Independent candidate.

He was born in Decatur, was a World War II Army veteran and along with his brother, became active in the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1950s. He served two decades as Fayette mayor.

Evers in recent years was a Republican, although he supported President Barack Obama. He endorsed President Donald Trump and was part of a welcoming committee for Trump when the president attended the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

Gov. Tate Reeves in a social media post on Wednesday said Evers “was a true friend to me and so many Mississippians.”

“His memory will always be cherished and honored,” Reeves said.

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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.