AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, who had battled health challenges over the past year including lung cancer treatment, has died more than two weeks after contracting COVID-19, his office said Monday. He was 67.
Wright died Sunday, spokesman Matt Langston said. He said he did not know the cause of death, but the two-term congressman and his wife, Susan, had been admitted to a Dallas hospital in the previous two weeks after contracting COVID-19.
Wright announced in January that he had tested positive for the virus. He was also hospitalized last year over treatment for lung cancer complications.
“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,” his office said in a statement.
Wright is the first sitting member of Congress to die after contracting COVID-19. In December, an incoming Republican member of the U.S. House, Luke Letlow of Louisiana, died of complications related to the virus only days before the 41-year-old would have been sworn into office.
Wright had said he tested positive for COVID-19 after coming into contact with an infected person. He had described his early symptoms as minor and said he would quarantine.
Langston said Wright was believed to have contracted the virus in Washington after he returned in early January for the swearing-in ceremony. Another Texas member of Congress, Republican U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, also announced that she had tested positive around that time.
Langston said Susan Wright had been discharged from the hospital before her husband’s death.
“He emulated the very best of America, and we were fortunate to have had the opportunity to call him a colleague and a friend,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said.
Wright represented the 6th Congressional District in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He was first elected in 2018.