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Congressman-elect Letlow dies after battling COVID-19 at age 41

On Tuesday night, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statement on the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, who was recently elected to represent Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, during his battle with COVID-19. He was 41 years old.

“It is with heavy hearts that Donna and I offer our condolences to Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s family on his passing after a battle with COVID-19,” Edwards said. “Letlow felt a calling from a young age to serve the people of his home state, working behind the scenes for former Governor Bobby Jindal and serving as chief of staff to Congressman Ralph Abraham, who he was recently elected to succeed. 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. I hope all of the people of Louisiana will join Donna and me in praying for Congressman-elect Letlow’s family, especially his wife Julia and their two children, his many friends and the people of the 5th Congressional District. 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.”

The 5th Congressional District includes Washington Parish. Edwards has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of Letlow’s funeral.

Letlow announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 18, and was hospitalized a day later. Prior to his death, he had been in intensive care at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, and later was transferred to Ochsner-LSU Health in Shreveport.

On Dec. 23, Letlow spokesperson Andrew Bautsch said that Letlow was in “stable condition.” He had reportedly been receiving remdesivir and steroids as part of his treatments, but his condition took a turn for the worse.

On Twitter, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, “Our hearts break tonight as we process the news of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s passing.”

Louisiana’s congressional delegation, led by U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, also issued a joint statement.

“Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him,” the statement read. “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.”

When congressional seats in Louisiana become vacant, the governor can call a special election at any time.