Updated Dec 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Newly elected Louisiana GOP Rep. Luke Letlow, 41, dies from coronavirus

A portrait of the late newly elected Republican Rep. Luke Letlow.

The late Louisiana Republican Rep. Luke Letlow. Photo: Luke Letlow/Facebook

Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-La.) died in a Louisiana hospital intensive care unit on Tuesday night "due to complications from COVID-19," his spokesperson Andrew Bautsch confirmed. He was 41.

The big picture: Letlow was due to be sworn into Congress this Sunday. He announced on Dec. 18 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was admitted to the Ochsner LSU Health ICU in Shreveport on Dec. 23.

  • Letlow was elected in a Dec. 5 runoff, replacing retiring Rep. Ralph Abraham, for whom he'd previously worked as chief of staff. Another special election will be held for Letlow's seat.
  • He's survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two children.

What they're saying: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) offered his condolences via Twitter to the congressman-elect's family soon after his death was announced, noting "Louisiana has lost more than 7,300 people to COVID-19 since March, and each one of them leaves a tremendous hole in our state."

  • Edwards said he had "ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of Congressman-elect Letlow's funeral."
  • Abraham said in a statement late Tuesday, "Luke leaves behind a legacy of service, a love for his community, and a love and understanding of people of every walk of life that will forever be unmatched."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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