Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) is mourning the loss of his oldest daughter who died after a year-long battle with cancer this week. The congressman revealed the sad news on Tuesday in a deeply emotional statement explaining that Martens valiantly battled a relentless form of cancer for a year, ultimately passing away peacefully in the presence of her family.
“We are heartbroken that we cannot share her smile and laugh in person any longer but are so thankful that she is resting with our Lord and that we were able to spend these years with her and her family,” he stated.
Survived by her devoted husband Chris, daughter Madelyn, and sons Charlie and Roman, Sydney also leaves behind a loving network of family members including parents Derrick and Sara Jane, her grandmother Virginia Whitelock, sister Abigail (Williams) and brothers Theodore and Daniel, along with numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Upon hearing the news, prominent Republicans and some Democrats joined together in offering their condolences. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was among those who offered their condolences, sharing a heartfelt message on X.
“I’m praying for @RepVanOrden and his family during this tragic time,” he wrote.
No parent should have to experience this kind of heartbreak. I'm praying for @RepVanOrden and his family during this tragic time.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) August 22, 2023
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) also offered his support, writing, “Our hearts go out to the entire Van Orden family. Please join Jacquie and I in praying for them during this incredibly difficult time.
Our hearts go out to the entire Van Orden family. Please join Jacquie and I in praying for them during this incredibly difficult time. https://t.co/pOH1rBJwKP
— Tom Emmer (@GOPMajorityWhip) August 22, 2023
As the news spread, the House Republican Conference voiced their collective prayers for Van Orden and his family. In a heartfelt tweet, they wrote, “We are all praying for @RepVanOrden and his family during this tragic time.”
— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) August 22, 2023
Even across the aisle, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) expressed her deep sympathy for Van Orden’s loss as she wrote, “I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, @RepVanOrden. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones grieving this loss and I am keeping you in my thoughts during this difficult time.”
I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, @RepVanOrden. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones grieving this loss and I am keeping you in my thoughts during this difficult time. https://t.co/c38CJJyF1T
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) August 22, 2023
Sydney’s husband, Chris Martenis, honored her memory with a touching tribute on social media. He recalled her remarkable qualities as a wife, mother, and friend, expressing gratitude for the profound impact she had on their lives.
“She was a better partner and wife than I deserve – she made me a better person through her example in how to be a good friend, how to care for kids, and how to take part in a loving marriage. She was exemplary – she held herself to a standard that few, if any, could meet. The world is less bright without her here,” he wrote.