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ARDEN, NC (AP) — 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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