Luke Letlow

Julia Letlow poses with her late husband Luke Letlow and their two children.

(The Center Square) – Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, suffering complications following a COVID-19 diagnosis, has died.

Letlow, 41, was transferred from St. Francis Medical Center to the Ochsner LSU Health ICU on Dec. 23.  He is survived by his wife Julia and two 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 prepared statement released to media. "A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time."

Letlow was the newest member of Congress elected from Louisiana, after defeating state Rep. Lance Harris in a December runoff election.

“It is with heavy hearts that Donna and I offer our condolences to Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s family on his passing after a battle with COVID-19,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a prepared statement. “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.”

Edwards has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of Letlow’s funeral.

“We are devastated by the news of Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow's passing,” the Louisiana Republican Party said in a prepared statement. “We have lost a rising political star and a good friend. He was a loving husband and father, and we ask for your prayers for his family at this difficult time.”

Letlow was the chief of staff for three-term U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, who did not run for reelection. Letlow finished first in the nonpartisan open primary held in November and defeated Harris, a fellow Republican, in the December runoff.

Staff Reporter

David Jacobs is a Baton Rouge-based award-winning journalist who has written about government, politics, business and culture in Louisiana for almost 15 years. He joined The Center Square in 2018.