11:38 GMT25 January 2021
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    The politician is at least the second Republican to be elected only to die from Covid-related issues. Last month, a GOP candidate for the North Dakota House of Representatives won his race despite dying in hospital nearly a month earlier. In July, 74-year-old former presidential candidate Herman Cain lost his battle against the virus.

    Luke Letlow, a Republican who won a December runoff election for Louisiana’s 5th District in the US House of Representatives, has passed away at the age of 41 from Covid-19-related complications.

    “Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, 41, passed away this evening at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport due to complications from COVID-19,” his campaign manager Andrew Bautsch said in a statement to media Tuesday night.

    According to Bautsch, Letlow was admitted to a local hospital on 19 December after testing positive for coronavirus a day earlier, and transferred to Ochsner on 22 December, where he was placed in intensive care.

    Just hours before Letlow's death, Bautsch told USA Today that the congressman-elect was in a stable condition and that his team was "exploring options" for the swearing-in ceremony, which was to take place this Sunday. “His doctors have prescribed rest for his continued recovery,” the spokesman said at the time.

    Doctors reportedly gave Letlow the antiviral drug Remdesivir and steroids as part of his treatment, and told local media that the politician did not have any underlying health conditions that would placed him at greater risk to the virus. A number of other officials from the state, including a senator, the lieutenant governor, and Louisiana’s attorney general contracted the coronavirus over the past months, but have all recovered.

    Letlow won his congressional seat convincingly, taking 62 percent in a runoff election against fellow Republican Rep. Lance Harris. Letlow ran as a traditional Trump Republican, saying his district needed someone who would “fight alongside President Trump to bring back jobs and infrastructure and ensure radical socialists don’t take over our country.”

    He is survived by his wife and two children. Congressional and state officials from both parties have expressed condolences over his death.

    Over 7,000 Louisianians have died of coronavirus-related complications since the pandemic was announced in March, with 336,000 deaths reported across the US overall.


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