Louisiana state lawmaker dies of coronavirus

A Louisiana state lawmaker died of coronavirus Thursday, as the disease makes its way through the southern United States.

State Rep. Reggie Bagala (R), 54, was hospitalized last week after contracting the illness, New Orleans station WDSU reported. He was a freshman House member representing parts of Jefferson and Lafourche parishes. 

His son Tristan Paul Bagala confirmed his death on Facebook, describing him as a “profoundly honest and decent man, who loved unceasingly.” 

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“Mes chers amis, it is with deep sadness that I have to let y’all know that my father, best podna, and state Rep Reggie Bagala has passed away,” he said in his post.

“My mom and I would like to thank you all once more for your prayers and support during this time,” he added.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) released a statement in response to Bagala’s death, saying “we mourn his loss.”

"A successful businessman, devoted family man, and active volunteer, Rep. Bagala spent his life making his community and south Louisiana a better place to live for everyone,” the governor said. “Just one month ago, he entered the Louisiana State Capitol with excitement and eagerness to serve the people of our great state and the people of House District 54, and today we mourn his loss.”

"We are better for having people like Rep. Bagala who are willing to be public servants and make our state better,” he continued. “I ask the people of Louisiana to join Donna and me in praying for Rep. Bagala's family, friends, colleagues and the people of House District 54 during this difficult time."

Before working for the state house, Bagala worked for Lafourche Parish Government, according to WDSU.

Louisiana has counted 18,283 positive cases of the virus and 702 deaths, according to the state health department. Slightly more than 70 percent of the fatalities were African Americans, even though the black population makes up 32 percent of the total population.