Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-La.) died from a heart attack, the doctor in charge of the hospital where he was being treated confirmed to The Epoch Times.
“Congressman-elect Luke Letlow ultimately died from complications of COVID-19. His immediate death due to a heart attack is likely related to thromboembolic phenomena caused by COVID-19,” Dr. G. E. Ghali, chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport, told The Epoch Times in an email.
The hospital declined to share more details.
Letlow, 41, who won a special election in early December, was transferred to an intensive care unit at the hospital on Dec. 22, three days after being admitted to a different hospital.
Medical professionals have been told by national health authorities to make sure to report COVID-19 on the death certificate for victims if the disease is determined to be the cause of death. There are different sections on the death certificate for the immediate cause of death, and the conditions that led to the immediate cause of death.
It wasn't clear what Letlow's death certificate would say.
Most deaths among people who test positive for COVID-19 come from the elderly. The vast majority of patients survive. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, difficulty breathing, and vomiting. People with severe symptoms such as an inability to stay awake and persistent pain in the chest should immediately seek emergency medical care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a statement posted to Letlow's official Facebook page, his team said Letlow passed away "due to complications from COVID-19." Letlow's social media pages were later deleted.
Clay Schexnayder, the Republican speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, said Letlow's death drove home how the COVID-19 pandemic "is real."
"It's taken too many of our loved ones," he said in a statement, adding: "Luke lived his life fully and loved his family and friends with all of his heart. Pray for his family today and hold yours close. We do not know how much time we are given and should take advantage of every second we have."
A special election will be held next year to fill the seat representing Louisiana's 5th Congressional District.
The election will take place on March 20, 2021, a spokesperson for Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed to The Epoch Times.
Louisiana has open primaries.
If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, a runoff would take place in April.
Rep. Ralph Abraham, a Republican who currently holds the seat, didn't return an inquiry on whether he's decided to not retire and instead seek reelection after Letlow's death. Letlow used to serve as an aide to Abraham.