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Louisiana lawmaker Reggie Bagala dies of coronavirus disease

Louisiana lawmaker Reggie Bagala dies of coronavirus disease
Before his election as a state representative, Bagala was an administrator and auditor in Lafourche Parish, La. Photo courtesy Rep. Reggie Bagala

April 10 (UPI) -- Louisiana state legislator Reggie Bagala has died from the coronavirus disease, becoming one of the first U.S. lawmakers to succumb to the disease.

His family said last week Bagala, 54, had picked up the virus and was on a ventilator. Thursday, his son said in a Facebook post the first-term Republican had died.

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"It is with deep sadness that I have to let y'all know that my father ... and state Rep. Reggie Bagala has passed away," his son Tristan Paul Bagala wrote. "He was a profoundly honest and decent man, who loved unceasingly.

"Our t-slice of the world will not be the same without such a pillar of our community and an example of the values we hold dearest."

Bagala won his seat in a three-way race last October. Before that, he served as an administrator and auditor in Lafourche Parish.

"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," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.

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"We are better for having people like Rep. Bagala who are willing to be public servants and make our state better."

"This breaks my heart," Louisiana House Speaker Pro Tem Tanner Magee tweeted. "He was so excited to serve. And he was a genuine person who loved people. I wish I could [have] served with him longer."

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Bass Pro Shops marketing manager David Smith (R) carries a box of donated face masks into Mercy Health in Chesterfield, Mo., on May 13. The company is donating 1 million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders working on the front lines of the pandemic. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

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