On Tuesday, a couple of months after his winning campaign to join Congress, and just a few days from being sworn in, 41-year-old Luke Letlow died from COVID-19 complications.

Louisiana’s incoming Republican member of the U.S. House, a married father of two, had tested positive for the virus on Dec. 18 and announced at the time he was quarantined at home. The next day, he was admitted to a Monroe hospital and later transferred to Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport, La., and placed in intensive care. A family friend confirmed to the Monroe (La.) News-Star that Letlow passed away while in the ICU. 

Dr. G.E. Ghali, of LSU Health Shreveport, told the (Baton Rouge, La.) Advocate that Letlow didn’t have any underlying health conditions that would have placed him at greater risk to COVID. According to Ghali, Letlow had shown signs of improvement when he “apparently suffered a cardiac event this evening that was refractory to all resuscitation efforts.”

Letlow, from rural Start, La., won Louisiana’s 5th District seat in a Dec. 5 runoff race and would have been sworn into office on Sunday.

“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,” Letlow spokesman Andrew Bautsch said. “A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards urged prayers 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.”

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