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WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — Louisiana is mourning on Wednesday after the sudden passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow.

Luke was born a ninth generation Louisianan from Start on December 6, 1979, to Dianne and Johnny Letlow, a retired pharmacist and volunteer fire chief for the State Fire Department.

Luke attended Start Elementary, Ouachita Christian High School, and then went on to graduate from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in computer information systems in 2003.

Letlow first began working as a shoe salesman while he was in high school but as he grew, politics took over. Luke worked for Bobby Jindal from 2005 to 2008 as Jindal’s congressional district director, and during Jindal’s first term as Louisiana governor as director of intergovernmental affairs from 2008 to 2010.

Luke also worked in the private sector both in Shreveport, Louisiana and Denver, Colorado from 2010 to 2014.

A lifelong Republican, Letlow served most-recently as Chief of Staff for Congressman Ralph Abraham throughout his term in Congress. In 2020, Abraham announced that he would not seek re-election after three terms, opening the door for Letlow to serve his community as a Congressman.

On November 3, 2020, Letlow finished first in Louisiana’s primary election but did not receive enough votes to win the seat out-right. On December 5, 2020, Letlow won the runoff election against Lance Harris. Letlow was set to be sworn in as the Congressman for Louisiana’s 5th congressional district on January 4, 2020.

Before that could happen though, Letlow began his battle against COVID-19. On December 18, 2020, Letlow announced that he had tested positive for the virus and he was hospitalized in Monroe. A few days later, Luke was transferred to the intensive care unit of Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport. Less than a week after being placed in the ICU, Luke died of complications at the age of 41.

Luke Letlow is survived by his wife, Dr. Julia Barnhill Letlow, and his two children.