It is "with tremendous sadness and pain" that Rep. Ilhan Omar has announced the death of her father due to complications from COVID-19. "No words can describe what he meant to me and all who knew him," the Minnesota congresswoman said in a statement late Monday, per CBS Minnesota. She also shared a photo of the pair on Twitter. Nur Omar Mohamed raised his daughter from an infant following the death of her mother, per the New York Times. The pair later escaped a civil war in Somalia, coming to America in 1995.
Omar paid homage to that moment, sharing a photo of herself and her father revisiting their first US destination, Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, last January "on the eve of my swearing in as the first Somali-American in Congress." Omar credited her determination to her father, who coached her through encounters with bullies as she grew up in suburban Virginia, reports Business Insider. "They feel threatened in some way by your existence," he told her. The congresswoman has asked for "respect and privacy during this time." (Read more Ilhan Omar stories.)