Representative-elect Luke Letlow (R-LA) died on Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19, a spokesman said.
The 41-year-old congressman was just days away from taking office on Sunday after being elected to Louisiana’s fifth congressional district this month after a runoff against another Republican.
The news comes less than two weeks after Letlow announced he had tested positive for coronavirus on Dec. 18 and that he would be isolating at home.
A day after that announcement, he was hospitalized and later transferred to the Ochsner L.S.U. Health medical center in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he was placed in intensive care and later passed away, a representative for Letlow, Andrew Bautsch, said.
According to Bautsch, the representative-elect had been receiving the antiviral drug remdesivir and steroids to treat the illness.
When asked if Letlow had any underlying conditions that would increase his risk of death due to the virus, Dr. G.E. Ghali, a doctor at the Shreveport hospital, told a reporter from The Advocate that Letlow had none.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement mourning Letlow’s passing.
“Tonight, the United States House of Representatives sadly mourns the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow,” Pelosi tweeted. “Congressman-elect Letlow was a ninth-generation Louisianian who fought passionately for his point of view and dedicated his life to public service.”
Before running for Congress, Letlow had worked in the administration of former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who said in a tweet on Tuesday evening that he first met Letlow when the congressman-elect was still in college and spent “countless hours with him in his truck driving the back roads of Louisiana.”
“His passion for service has been a constant throughout his life,” Jindal wrote.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) added to the wave of tweeted condolences at the news of Letlow’s death on Tuesday evening saying that “COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon. 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.”
Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia, and their two children, Jeremiah and Jacqueline.