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He Died of COVID Days Before Being Sworn In to House

Incoming congressman Luke Letlow was 41
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 30, 2020 3:05 AM CST
Updated Dec 30, 2020 7:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Luke Letlow, Louisiana's incoming Republican member of the US House, died Tuesday night from complications related to COVID-19 only days before he would have been sworn into office, the AP reports. 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, and US House leaders were also offering their condolences. Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two children, Jeremiah and Jacqueline.

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The state's newest congressman, set to take office in January, was admitted to a Monroe hospital on Dec. 19 after testing positive for the coronavirus. He was later transferred to the Shreveport facility and placed in intensive care. Dr. GE Ghali of LSU Health Shreveport told the Advocate that Letlow didn't have any underlying health conditions that would have placed him at greater risk from COVID-19. Letlow, from the small town of Start in Richland Parish, was elected in a December runoff election for the sprawling 5th District US House 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 ran with Abraham's backing for the job.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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