Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) has died after two weeks in the hospital with COVID-19, his office announced today. Wright was the first sitting member of Congress to die from the disease.
Wright was 67 years old and had a number of comorbidities. He was sick with lung cancer and was hospitalized for complications related to that condition in September. He announced that he’d tested positive for COVID-19 on January 21st after coming into contact with someone who had the virus the week before.
Over 60 members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. That includes three other Texas Republican representatives: Kevin Brady, Louie Gohmert, and Kay Granger. A number of lawmakers contracted the disease after the riots at the Capitol on January 6th after they were forced to hide in small rooms for safety.
Wright’s wife, Susan, was also hospitalized with the disease. “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,” his office said in a statement.
Wright is one of the over 460,000 people in the US who have died from COVID-19, out of more than 27 million reported cases. Daily cases are declining across the country, and the vaccination campaign is picking up speed, but experts worry that more contagious variants could stall or reverse that progress.