DALLAS — U.S. Rep Ron Wright of Arlington died Sunday night after a battle with COVID-19. He was 67.
His family and spokesperson confirmed Wright’s death Monday morning. The congressman, who was reelected in November, had been battling cancer.
Wright is the first member of Congress to die of COVID-19.
“Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative. He was a statesman, not an ideologue,” according to a statement released by Wright’s office. “Ron and Susan dedicated their lives to fighting for individual freedom, Texas values, and above all, the lives of the unborn. As friends, family, and many of his constituents will know, Ron maintained his quick wit and optimism until the very end. 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.”
According to the statement, Wright had been keeping a vigorous work scheduled before contracting the virus. Two weeks ago Wright and his wife, Susan, were admitted to Baylor hospital in Dallas because of COVID-19 side effects.
Wright announced on Jan. 21 that he had tested positive “after coming in contact with an individual with the virus last week.” He had been in quarantine since Jan. 15 and said he would remain in quarantine until doctors cleared him to return to work.
“I am experiencing minor symptoms, but overall, I feel okay and will continue working for the people of the 6th District from home this week. I encourage everyone to keep following CDC guidelines and want to thank all the medical professionals on the front lines who fight this virus head-on every single day,” he said at the time in a statement issued by his office.
The quarantine began two days after the House voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump. Wright voted against the impeachment, as did all but 10 Republicans, none from Texas.
Wright, given his age and health complications, was an infrequent traveler to Washington over the last 11 months, House voting records show. While congressional leaders have taken steps to stop COVID-19’s spread, several lawmakers have still contracted the virus.
To date, three other Texans have tested positive for the coronavirus: Reps. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands; Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler; and Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth. All three of those Texans recovered after reporting mild symptoms.
Wright is the first sitting member of Congress to die after battling COVID-19. Rep.-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana, a Republican, died from complications due to the virus just days before being sworn in.
A former Tarrant County Tax Assessor, Wright is survived by his wife, Susan; his daughter Rachel, his sons Derek and Justin, his brother, Gary and nine grandchildren.
Story by Gromer Jeffers Jr., The Dallas Morning News.