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Republican congressman’s daughter dies from cancer

 August 23, 2023

Republican Rep. Derrick Van Orden (WI-03) recently announced the tragic passing of his oldest daughter, Sydney Marie Martenis, after a year-long battle with an aggressive form of cancer.

In a heartfelt statement released by Van Orden's press staff, the congressman expressed sadness as he shared the news of Sydney's passing, as Fox News reported.

Family remembers Sydney Marie Martenis

Van Orden described the event as bittersweet, stating:

"It is with the most profound sense of grief and joy that Sara Jane and I announce the passing of our oldest daughter, Sydney Marie (Van Orden) Martenis, after a year of battling a very aggressive form of cancer. She died peacefully surrounded by her family."

The congressman continued, expressing the family's heartbreak over not being able to see her smile or hear her laughter.

However, they added that they now find solace in the fact that she is resting with the Lord.

Survived by a loving family

The official statement also provided details about Sydney's surviving family members.

The statement read, "Sydney is survived by grandma Virginia Whitelock, husband Chris, daughter Madelyn, sons Charlie and Roman, father and mother Derrick and Sara Jane, sister Abigail (Williams), brothers Theodore and Daniel, and many uncles, aunts, and cousins."

Family members expressed tremendous gratitude for the support they've received, saying:

Thank you for all of the tender mercies you have shown to our family. May God bless you all.

Husband's touching tribute

Chris Martenis, Sydney's husband, took to social media to share a touching memorial for his late wife.

He praised her as an "exemplary" wife and mother, emphasizing her hardworking nature, thoughtfulness, and deep care for those around her.

Martenis also said:

She was the hardest working, most thoughtful, and deeply caring person that I know. She was a wonderful mother – she was always surprising me with interesting and challenging experiences for our kids.

Chris continued to express how Sydney made him a better person, teaching him how to be a good friend, care for children, and participate in a loving marriage.

He lamented that the world is now less bright without her presence.

Support from fellow lawmakers

The news of Sydney's passing resonated with many, including fellow lawmakers who sent their condolences and messages of support to Rep. Van Orden.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was among those who expressed his sympathy after the news emerged.

"No parent should have to experience this kind of heartbreak. I'm praying for [Rep. Van Orden] and his family during this tragic time," McCarthy stated.

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin also reached out, writing:

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, [Rep. Van Orden]. 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.


  • Wisconsin Rep. Derrick Van Orden announced the passing of his oldest daughter, Sydney Marie Martenis.
  • Sydney battled an aggressive form of cancer for over a year.
  • The congressman's statement expressed profound grief and joy, emphasizing Sydney's peaceful passing surrounded by family.
  • Sydney's husband, Chris Martenis, shared a touching tribute on social media, praising her as an exemplary wife and mother.
  • Fellow lawmakers, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, sent their condolences and messages of support.