Greg Hilburn, Monroe News-Star Published 10:02 p.m. ET Dec. 29, 2020 | Updated 11:07 a.m. ET Dec. 30, 2020
Luke Letlow, who won the 5th Congressional District seat in Louisiana, died with COVID-19. USA TODAY
Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died of COVID-19 on Tuesday at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport.
Letlow, 41, was transferred from St. Francis Medical Center to the Ochsner LSU Health ICU on Dec. 23 and had been treated there since then.
Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two young children.
“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,” the family said in a statement. “A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.”
Letlow, a Republican, announced Dec. 18 he tested positive for COVID-19 and was first quarantining at his Richland Parish home.
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Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, R-Start, his wife Julia and their two children Jeremiah, 3, and Jacqueline, 11 months, are pictured outside their Richland Parish home on Monday, December 7, 2020. (Photo: Greg Hilburn/USA Today Network)
But on Dec. 19, he was admitted to St. Francis as symptoms persisted and eventually he was transferred to Shreveport.
Gov. John Bel Edwards mourned Letlow’s death.
“COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon,” Edwards said. “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.”
Letlow won the 5th Congressional District seat with 62% of the vote Dec. 5 in a runoff election against fellow Republican state Rep. Lance Harris of Alexandria.
He would have succeeded his former boss, Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, who didn’t seek reelection after honoring a pledge to serve a limit of three terms.
Letlow had been Abraham’s chief of staff.
Louisiana’s 5th District is the largest geographically in the state covering 24 parishes. Alexandria and Monroe are the population hubs, but the boundaries dip into Acadiana to take in Opelousas and into the Florida parishes to take in Bogalusa.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.
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