Republican Congressman-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana, who won the runoff election for the state’s 5th congressional district earlier this month, died Tuesday night due to complications related to his battle with COVID-19.
Letlow announced on Dec. 18 that he tested positive for the virus and began to quarantine at his Richland Parish home. He was hospitalized on Dec. 19, however, at St. Francis Medical Center and was transferred on Dec. 23 to the Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport intensive care unit.
Although the 41-year-old was in critical condition, he had been showing signs of improvement when he “apparently suffered a cardiac event [Tuesday] evening that was refractory to all resuscitation efforts,” Ghali said, according to NOLA.com.
The chancellor revealed that Letlow was being treated with Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, and steroids.
“He had no underlying conditions,” Ghali said, according to the News-Star. “It was just COVID.”
Ghali said the death of the congressman-elect was “devastating to [the] entire team.”
Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, as well as their two children, Jeremiah, 3, and Jacqueline, 11 months.
“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,” spokesman Andrew Bautsch said. “A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.”
Louisiana’s eight-member congressional delegation released a statement mourning Letlow’s passing.
“Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him,” the delegation wrote, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“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.”
Local government officials also shared their condolences on Twitter.
I hope all of the people of Louisiana will join Donna and me in praying for Congressman-elect Letlow’s family, especially his wife Julia and their two children, his many friends, and the people of the 5th Congressional District. #lagov
— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) December 30, 2020
Laura and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the entire Letlow family. Please keep them all in your prayers during this very difficult time. Luke will be missed dearly across Louisiana, and we all mourn his passing. pic.twitter.com/fwngYNpwWa
— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) December 30, 2020
In a video message, Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy also urged Americans to be safe.
“It … just brings home COVID can kill. For most folks it doesn’t, but it truly can. So, as you remember Luke, his widow, his children in your prayers, remember as well to be careful with COVID,” he said.
A special election to fill the seat representing Louisiana’s fifth congressional district will be held in March, according to the Advocate.
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