Rep John Lewis (D-Ga.). (AP)

Rep. John Lewis, 78, a Georgia Democrat who played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, has been released from a hospital after suffering a medical emergency, according to his office.

Lewis became ill while flying home to Atlanta on Saturday, WSB-TV reported. He had been expected at an event that afternoon.

In an early statement, the congressman’s office described his hospital stay as “routine observation” but released no details about what sent him there.

Lewis remained in the hospital through Sunday afternoon. In the evening, his spokeswoman Brenda Jones released the following statement:

Rep. John Lewis has been released from the hospital this evening. All tests have been completed, and doctors have given him a “clean bill of health”.  He thanks everyone who shared their thoughts, prayers and concerns during his stay.

Lewis’s political legacy dates to the era of racial segregation, when “he was arrested, brutally beaten and continually bore witness to death in the pursuit of equality under the law for African Americans,” as Jonathan Capehart wrote for The Washington Post.

The son of black sharecroppers, he became one of the original Freedom Riders fighting for racial integration. He spoke at the March on Washington as a young man in 1963 and has served as Congress’s living link to the civil rights battles since he first won office in 1986, representing Georgia’s 5th Congressional District.

This post has been updated.

More reading:

‘I just felt like something had died in all of us’: John Lewis on the death of Martin Luther King