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A Republican Just Elected To Congress Has Died From COVID At 41

Luke Letlow was days away from being sworn in as the US representative for Louisiana's 5th Congressional District. He had no underlying health conditions.

Posted on December 30, 2020, at 8:28 a.m. ET


Melinda Deslatte / AP

Rep.-elect Luke Letlow died on Tuesday evening at a Louisiana hospital from complications due to the coronavirus after being hospitalized for 11 days. He was 41.

Letlow was days away from being sworn in as US representative for Louisiana's 5th Congressional District as the state's youngest member of Congress.

His death was announced via spokesperson Andrew Bautsch in a statement published on Facebook.

"The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time," said Bautsch.

On Dec. 18, Letlow announced via Twitter that he had tested positive for the virus and that he would be isolating.

His condition appeared to have deteriorated quickly as he was admitted into the hospital the next day.

In an update last week, G.E. Ghali, chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport, said Letlow was in a stable condition in an intensive care unit, where he was receiving steroids and the antiviral medicine remdesivir.

Ghali told the New Orleans Advocate that Letlow had no underlying health conditions.

What a privilege to live in the land of the free 🇺🇸 Please exercise your right to vote on this historic day, and I humbly ask for your prayers and support! #StartLuke2020 #LA05 #WheresPeanut2020

Letlow won a runoff election on Dec. 6 to replace outgoing Republican Ralph Abraham, for whom he had previously worked as chief of staff.

During his campaign, he frequently shared photos of himself at small outdoor gatherings, sometimes wearing a mask and sometimes not.

His death was mourned by other Republican members of Congress from Louisiana.

Life is a fragile gift. Luke's passing reminds me how thankful we should be everyday for all of the blessings and challenges we have. Please join me in praying for Luke, Julia and their young family.

Devastated to hear of my friend Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s passing. Luke had such a positive spirit and a tremendously bright future. Join me in praying for his young family during this incredibly difficult time. Statement from the Louisiana Congressional Delegation:

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.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has ordered flags be lowered to half-staff in the state to commemorate Letlow.

"COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon," Bel Edwards said on Twitter. "I am heartbroken that he will not be able to serve our people as a U.S. Representative, but I am even more devastated for his loving family."

Letlow is survived by his wife and two young children.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.