Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died Tuesday (December 30) from complications relating to COVID-19, just days before he was to be sworn into office. He was 41 and had no underlying health conditions that put him at higher risk.
Letlow was admitted to a Monroe hospital on December 19 after testing positive for COVID-19, but he was later transferred to Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport and placed in intensive care. A spokesman confirmed his passing at the facility on Tuesday.
"The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time," said Andrew Bautsch in a statement. The family will announce funeral arrangements at a later time.
Letlow was elected in December to serve the 5th District U.S. House seat, and his congressional colleagues knew how excited he was to get started.
"Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him," Louisiana's congressional delegation said in a statement. "He was looking forward to serving the people of Louisiana in Congress, and we were excited to welcome to our delegation where he was ready to make an even greater impact on our state and our nation."
Prior to being elected to Congress, Letlow served as Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham's chief of staff. When Abraham announced he was not running again, he gave his support to Letlow.
"There are no words for this loss," said Abraham. "There was no one like Luke Letlow, and there was no one who loved this state and its people more. Luke was a part of our family, and we are so incredibly proud of the man he was. Luke leaves behind a legacy of service, a love for his community, and love and understanding of people of every walk of life that will forever be unmatched."
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that flags across the state will fly at half-staff on the day of Letlow's funeral. He also urged people to pray for the congressman-elect's family.
"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 devastate for his loving family," said Gov. Edwards. "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."
Letlow is survived by his wife, Julie Barnhill Letlow, and two children.
Photo: Luke Letlow Campaign (Facebook)