Initial Findings In on Sudden Death of Congressman's Wife

Eleanor Carol Leavell Barr, wife of Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr, likely died of heart problem
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2020 8:05 AM CDT
Initial Findings In on Sudden Death of Congressman's Wife
In this Jan. 6, 2015, file photo, then-House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, administers a ceremonial reenactment of the House oath of office to Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., accompanied by his wife, Eleanor Carol Leavell Barr, on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

The "terribly painful" sudden death of a congressman's wife in Kentucky has some preliminary answers. Gary Ginn, the coroner for Fayette County, tells People that "an autopsy was necessary" to find out what happened to Eleanor Carol Leavell Barr (known as Carol), wife of Rep. Andy Barr, as she had died suddenly Tuesday at the age of 39, with "no explanation." The initial findings: Her death looks to have been caused by mitral valve prolapse, aka floppy heart syndrome or Barlow's syndrome, a condition in which the heart's mitral valve doesn't close correctly, leading blood to leak the wrong way. Most people who have MVP don't have symptoms or suffer complications—meaning some may not even know they have it.

"At this time of tremendous grief and pain, we ask for prayers for our beautiful, dear, and precious Carol, the greatest, most selfless and giving wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend anyone could ever have," Andy Barr said in a statement. Meanwhile, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Josh Hicks, Andy Barr's likely Democratic challenger in the fall for a chance to represent Kentucky's 6th District, says he will "pause all public events and pull down all advertising out of respect for Congressman Andy Barr and his family." Funeral arrangements are still being made. "She's got two beautiful daughters and it just is a misfortune," Ginn tells People. "It's horrible." (More congressman stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.