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First sitting US congressman dies after contracting coronavirus

WASHINGTON: A Republican congressman from Texas who was being treated for COVID-19 has died, the first sitting member to lose his life after battling the coronavirus.

House of Representatives lawmaker Ron Wright, 67, who had also suffered from cancer in recent years, died on Sunday in a Dallas hospital, where he and his wife were taken after catching the virus.

His death comes after House member-elect Luke Letlow lost his life on December 29 to the disease, just days before he was to be sworn in.

Wright announced on January 21 that he had tested positive for the Covid-19 but was “experiencing minor symptoms.” “I feel okay and will continue working for the people of the 6th District from home this week,” his statement said at the time.

His condition took a turn for the worse and for the past two weeks, he and his wife Susan were hospitalized for treatment. He died with his wife at his side, according to a statement from his office.

President Joe Biden called Wright a “fighter who battled bravely against both cancer and Covid-19,” and said in a statement that his and his wife Jill’s prayers were with the congressman’s family.

Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney expressed her condolences in a statement for her “friend & colleague.” “Ron’s commitment to public service, his tremendous work ethic & his commitment to conservative values inspired us all,” she wrote.

The United States has battled the world’s largest outbreak of the virus, with 463,000 people succumbing to the disease.