Texas Republican first in US Congress to die from COVID-19

Washington: US Representative Ron Wright has died after testing positive for COVID-19 last month, his office said, making him the first member of the US Congress to die from the pandemic disease that has claimed nearly 464,000 American lives.

Wright, a 67-year-old Texas Republican, had also been battling cancer. He was elected to Congress in 2018 and had seats on the House Foreign Affairs and Education and Labour Committees.

Ron Wright, centre, died two weeks after he was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.Credit:AP

Dozens of lawmakers from the US Senate and House of Representatives have contracted COVID-19 or been exposed to the deadly virus over the past year.

Wright is the only sitting member of Congress to succumb to the disease. Luke Letlow, a 41-year-old Republican from Louisiana who won election to Congress in November, died of COVID-19 late last year before he could be sworn into office.

Wright and his wife Susan were admitted to Baylor Hospital in Dallas two weeks ago after testing positive for the virus, his office said in a statement on Monday, local time.

“Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative. He was a statesman, not an ideologue,” the statement said.

“Despite years of painful, sometimes debilitating treatment for cancer, Ron never lacked the desire to get up and go to work, to motivate those around him, or to offer fatherly advice.

“Ron remained stoic in the face of his health challenges, and incredibly upbeat about the future of the state and the nation he loved so much.

Before coming to Congress, Wright served on the Arlington, Texas City Council and as the district director and chief of staff to former Representative Joe Barton, whom he succeeded in 2019.

Wright was a recognisable figure on Capitol Hill with his signature bowtie.

Reuters, with Bloomberg

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