Politics

Republican Rep. Ron Wright of Texas is first sitting member of Congress to die of Covid

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Key Points
  • The 67-year-old Texas Republican contracted Covid-19 in January and is the first sitting member of Congress to die from the virus.
  • Wright took office in 2019, and underwent treatment for lung cancer in recent years.
Rep.-elect Ron Wright, R-Texas, attends a new member welcome briefing in the Capitol Visitor Center on November 15, 2018.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Republican Rep. Ron Wright of Texas died weeks after contracting Covid-19, his office said Monday. He was 67.

Wright, who took office in 2019, died Sunday. He had undergone treatment for lung cancer after it was diagnosed in 2018.

He and his wife, Susan, were hospitalized in Dallas for two weeks prior to the congressman's death while fighting the disease. The congressman, whose district included Arlington, announced he tested positive for Covid-19 on Jan. 21.

"As friends, family, and many of his constituents will know, Ron maintained his quick wit and optimism until the very end," Wright's office 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."

Wright is the first sitting member of Congress to die after contracting Covid. Luke Letlow, a Louisiana Republican elected to the House in November, died a month later from Covid-19 complications, before he took office.

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At least 71 representatives and senators have been diagnosed with Covid, according to GovTrack. More than 27 million people nationwide have contracted the disease, and it has killed more than 463,000 Americans.

Texas will eventually hold a special election to choose Wright's successor in Texas' 6th District, which sits in Tarrant County outside of Dallas.

Wright's death means Democrats now have an 11-seat advantage in the House. There are four vacancies in the 435-member House, including Letlow's 5th District in Louisiana.

Wright's final vote was against impeaching former President Donald Trump on a charge of provoking the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to the House clerk. He also voted in support of objections to counting Pennsylvania and Arizona's electoral votes last month.