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Incoming member of Congress Luke Letlow dies from COVID-19 days before swearing in

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Posted at 9:59 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 23:09:19-05

Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow has died at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport due to complications from COVID-19, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Letlow was diagnosed on December 19 with COVID-19 and was hospitalized that day. Three days later, he was transferred to the ICU where he spent a week battling the virus.

Letlow was survived by his wife Julia and two young children.

The 41-year-old was elected to Congress earlier this month in a runoff. He defeated State Rep. Lance Harris by a 62 to 38 margin four weeks ago in a battle between two GOP members vying for their first term in Congress.

Letlow was set to replace Rep. Ralph Abraham. Letlow previously served as Abraham's chief of staff.

Abraham opted not to run for re-election, which opened the opportunity for Letlow to fill his seat.

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin released a statement Tuesday night, saying, "Our hearts are heavy for the loss of Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow...Our prayers are with his wife Julia, their children, and their families, and as a state, we mourn his passing."

Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader who was ready to welcome Letlow to the GOP caucus, reacted to the congressman-elect's passing.

"Our hearts break tonight as we process the news of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s passing. I spoke with his wife, Julia. Judy and I are praying for her and their two young children during this terrible time," McCarthy tweeted.