Wright first Congress member to die from Covid-19

The Republican was admitted to hospital last month after testing positive for the deadly disease

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2018 file photo, U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Texas, walks to a session during member-elect briefings and orientation on Capitol Hill in Washington. Wright, the Texas Republican who had battled health challenges over the past year including lung cancer treatment died Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, more than two weeks after contracting COVID-19, his office said Monday, Feb. 8.  He was 67.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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Ron Wright, a Republican representative from Texas, died on Sunday after battling cancer and Covid-19. He is the first sitting member of the US Congress to die after testing positive for coronavirus.

Wright, 67, represented a district that stretched south and south-east of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and was a member of the House committees on Foreign Affairs and Education and Labour.

He and his wife Susan were admitted to Baylor hospital in Dallas two weeks ago after testing positive for the virus, his office said. He had also been battling cancer.

"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.

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

Wright was a recognisable figure on Capitol Hill because of his signature bow tie.

"Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative," his office said.

“He was a statesman, not an ideologue. Ron and Susan dedicated their lives to fighting for individual freedom, Texas values, and above all, the lives of the unborn.”

Wright was among those who objected to some of the Electoral College votes certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory, even after rioters disrupted the joint session of Congress on January 6.

While he denounced the attack on the Capitol as “inexcusable and reprehensible”, he continued to question the integrity of the November election.

Wright said on January 19 that he would not attend Mr Biden's inauguration because he had come in contact with someone infected with coronavirus. He said on January 21 that he would continue working from home after testing positive.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said Wright was a "great American who made our country better with his leadership and compassion".

"Ron Wright was a fighter who passionately served his constituents, Texas and America," Mr McCarthy said.

“For Ron, public service was more than a job, it was a calling. The difference he was able to make over the past two decades will continue to live on in every life he affected.”

Wright is survived by his wife and children.