Civil rights leader Rev. Joseph E. Lowery has died at the age of 98. In a statement Lowery’s family announced the civil rights giants died Friday of natural causes, unrelated to coronavirus. Known as the “Dean of the Civil Rights Movement,” Lowery was instrumental in the movement, working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lowery attended Konxville College and Alabama A&M University. He later attended Paine Theological Seminary and served as a minister for several years. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Lowery was a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and served as its third president until retiring in 1997. In 2009, Lowery gave the benediction at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. That same year, Lowery received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.

Arrangements for Lowery have yet to be announced.