Louisiana congressman-elect Luke Letlow dead from COVID-19
Louisiana’s newest Republican member of the U.S. House, Luke Letlow, has died from complications related to COVID-19 only days before being sworn into office.
Luke Letlow, Louisiana’s newest Republican member of the U.S. House, died Tuesday night from complications related to COVID-19, only days before being sworn into office. He was 41.
Letlow spokesman Andrew Bautsch confirmed the congressman-elect’s death at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport.
“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,” Bautsch said in a statement. “A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.”
Louisiana’s eight-member congressional delegation called Letlow’s death devastating.
“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,” they said in a statement.
The incoming congressman, just elected in a runoff this month and set to take office in January, was admitted to a Monroe hospital on Dec. 19 after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was later transferred to the Shreveport facility and treated in intensive care.
Letlow, from the small town of Start in Richland Parish, was elected in the Dec. 5 runoff for the 5th District seat representing central and northeastern regions of the state, including the cities of Monroe and Alexandria.
He was to fill the seat being vacated by his boss, Republican Ralph Abraham. Letlow had been Abraham’s chief of staff, and Abraham supported his run for the job.
Gov. John Bel Edwards urged people to pray for Letlow’s family.
“COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “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.”
Before working for Abraham, Letlow had worked for former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. Jindal’s onetime chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, described Letlow on Twitter as “a good man with a kind heart and a passion to serve. He loved Louisiana and his family. He was a brother and I’m heart broken he’s gone.”
Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two children.
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a doctor who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year and has since recovered, posted in a Twitter video: “It just, just, just, 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.”
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