Coronavirus claims the life of longtime pastor and civil rights leader Dr. Harry Blake has died at age 85.

An urgent call for prayer was put on social media earlier this week as the longtime pastor of Mount Canaan Baptist Church until his retirement a couple of years ago.

Family members issued this statement:

The family is appreciative of the outpouring of support that has come (from) the local community and from across the nation. During this critical time, the Blake family requests private time as they, together mourn the passing of their father, brother, grandfather and uncle.

Dr. Blake worked with civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in fighting for the rights of all people. He was beaten, thrown in jail and nearly killed in some of the attacks over civil rights.

Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins issued this statement:

The person I have most wanted to be like. No words can describe my sorrow at this time. Praying for peace for Monica, Harry, and the family. Trying to smile knowing that he’s resting alongside his soulmate. God Bless.