Luke Letlow, US congressman-elect, dies of Covid aged 41 – The Guardian

0
43

Luke Letlow, Louisiana’s incoming Republican congressman, has died from complications related to Covid-19 at the age of 41.

“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,” Letlow’s spokesman, Andrew 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,” they said in a statement.

“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.”

US cases

The state’s newest congressman, who was due to take office in January, was admitted to a hospital in Monroe on 19 December after testing positive for Covid-19. He was later transferred to a hospital in Shreveport and placed in intensive care.

Dr GE Ghali of LSU Health Shreveport told the Advocate newspaper that Letlow had no underlying health conditions that would have put him at greater risk of Covid complications.

Letlow is survived by his wife, Julie Barnhill Letlow, and two young children.

From the small town of Start in Richland Parish, Letlow was elected in a December runoff election to fill the seat vacated by Ralph Abraham. Letlow had been Abraham’s chief of staff and ran with his boss’s backing for the job.

US House leaders offered their condolences on Tuesday night. “May it be a comfort to Luke’s wife, Julia, and their children, Jeremiah and Jacqueline, that so many mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time,” said Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House.

More than 7,000 people in Louisiana have died of Covid-19 since March, according to data from the state health department. As of Tuesday, more than 1,689 people were being treated in hospital with the illness in the state, the most since April.

Letlow had encouraged people to follow doctors’ advice and to follow social distancing guidance. At some public events he appeared at, he and others were not wearing masks, according to photos from his Twitter account.

On 21 December, Letlow encouraged people who had recovered from Covid to donate plasma, which may help people in hospital with the infection.

When he announced his positive test, Letlow joined a list of Louisiana officials to have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began, including Senator Bill Cassidy.

Cassidy, a Republican and doctor who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this year and has since recovered, said 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.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here