Congressman-elect Luke Letlow has died at age 41 after a heart attack during a procedure related to his COVID-19 infecction, the Louisiana governor and a health official have confirmed.
“It is with heavy hearts that @FirstLadyOfLA and I offer our condolences to Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s family on his passing after a battle with COVID-19. #lagov,” Governor John Bel Edwards wrote on Twitter on December 29. “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.”
According to Politico, Letlow is the first member of Congress (or Congressperson-elect) to die of COVID-19 complications. He was a Republican who was only days away from being sworn into office.
According to LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor G.E. Ghali, Letlow died “from a heart attack following a procedure related to the infection,” the News Star reported.
“He had no underlying conditions,” Ghali said. “It was just COVID.”
Letlow announced his diagnosis on December 18, tweeting, “Thank you to everyone for your kind words and prayers. I have tested positive for COVID-19. I’m at home resting, following all CDC guidelines, quarantine protocols, and the recommendations of my doctors.”
The governor added, “I have ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of Congressman-elect Letlow’s funeral.”
Andrew Bautsch, a representative for Letlow, confirmed Letlow’s death to WDSU-TV. He told the television station that the Congressman-elect died on December 29 at the hospital and that the cause of death was “due to complications from COVID-19.”
“Letlow was admitted into a Monroe Hospital on December 19 after testing positive for the coronavirus and was transferred to Ochsner-LSU Health on Tuesday, December 22, and placed in intensive care,” the statement to WDSU read.
“Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, Phd., and two young children.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Letlow Received Steroids & Remdesivir
In a statement titled “condition update” on December 23, Andrew Bautsch, representative for Letlow, confirmed that Letlow was diagnosed with COVID-19. At that time, though, he was listed in stable condition.
“Congressman-elect Luke Letlow has been transferred from St. Francis medical center in Monroe, LA to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Academic Medical Center in Shreveport, LA as he continues to undergo treatment for COVID-19,” that statement said. “The Letlow family is deeply appreciative of the medical team at St. Francis Medical center in Monroe for their fantastic care, and is thankful for all of the prayers and support they continue to receive.”
The statement quoted Dr. G.E. Gali, Chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport, as saying, “Congressman-elect Letlow is in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit where he is receiving Remdesivir and steroids as part of his regiment therapy.”
However, Letlow tragically did not pull through.
On December 27, Letlow’s wife wrote on Facebook, “Thank you for the inquiries, love, and prayers. Moving forward, we will use Luke’s FB page to provide all updates. Much love to all of you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts! ❤️🙏”
Letlow Urged People to Donate Plasma After His COVID-19 Diagnosis
On December 21, Letlow posted this statement to Twitter, “Thank you for the continued outpouring of prayers and support for my family and me. I am currently undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at St. Francis Hospital by a wonderful team of doctors and nurses. I am confident that with their help that I will be on the mend soon.”
He added, “For those who’ve had Covid already, your plasma is ESPECIALLY needed by those who are suffering. I cannot stress this enough. Please consider saving lives by going out and donating at your local blood bank. It may very well be the gift of life that you are giving a family this Christmas.”
He was elected to Congress in Louisiana’s 5th District with 62 percent of the vote. “Thank you to my supporters and the voters from every corner of the #LA05. We are so grateful for those who helped us cross the finish line,” he wrote. “I’m ready to get to work & am focused on bringing jobs, investment and opportunity to our district!”
Letlow Was a Former Chief of Staff to a Congressman Who Was a Republican Delegate
According to Ballotpedia, Luke Letlow was born in Monroe, Louisiana. “He earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University in 2003. Letlow’s career experience includes working as Chief of Staff to Congressman Ralph Abraham (R).”
He was elected to replace Abraham in Congress.
The site says he also served “as a board member for the Richland Parish Chamber and as Richland Parish Chairman for the LoveLifeVoteYes Campaign. He was also an elected delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2016 and 2020.”
On Facebook, he gave the following biographical information:
Rep-elect RLA5 at U.S. House of Congress
Former Chief of Staff at Congressman Ralph Abraham
Former Campaign Manager & Chairman at Ralph Abraham
Former Director, State Government Relations at QEP Resources
Former Special Assistant to the Governor at Office of the Governor, State of Louisiana
Went to Ouachita Christian School
Studied Computer Information Systems at Louisiana Tech University
From Start, Louisiana
READ NEXT: The Life & Death of Anthony Quinn Warner.