Louisiana Republican Luke Letlow won’t be able to represent his district in the new congress after dying from COVID-19 complications.
Letlow had won his seat in a runoff election on December 5. The 41 had announced on December 18 that he tested positive for Covid-19. Since then, he had been in the intensive care unit at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport.
“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time.
“A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time,” the family said in a statement that was first reported by the Monroe News-Star.
Letlow had before his death served as chief of staff to former Rep. Ralph Abraham before being elected to fill that seat. He was supposed to be sworn into Congress on Sunday. Although dozens of lawmakers have tested positive for Covid-19 over the past year, he is the first member or member-elect to die from the coronavirus.
Letlow leaves behind a wife and two small children. After being initially admitted at a Monroe hospital on December 19, was later transferred and placed in the ICU last week when his condition deteriorated.
The entire Louisiana delegation, led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, issued a joint statement offering their condolences.
“Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him. He was looking forward to serving the people of Louisiana in Congress, and we were excited to welcome him to our delegation where he was ready to make an even greater impact on our state and our Nation,” the statement said.
“More than anything, Luke was a loving husband, father, brother, and son, and his family — like so many others who have been affected by this evil disease — needs our prayers.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards also offered condolences via Twitter.
“It is with heavy hearts that @FirstLadyOfLA and I offer our condolences to Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s family on his passing after a battle with COVID-19. #lagov,” he wrote,.
“Congressman-elect Letlow was a ninth-generation Louisianan who fought passionately for his point of view and dedicated his life to public service. As the House grieves Congressman-elect Letlow’s passing, our sorrow is compounded by the grief of so many other families who have also suffered lives cut short by this terrible virus. May it be a comfort to Luke’s wife Julia and their children Jeremiah and Jacqueline that so many mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid him tribute.