Louisiana State Rep. Reggie Bagala Dies Age 54 Amid Battle With Coronavirus

Louisiana state Representative Reggie Bagala has died after a testing positive for coronavirus, former lawmaker Marty Chabert announced on Thursday.

"It is with great sadness to let you know [Bagala's son] just informed me of his father's passing! See below. Please pray for Rep Bagala's family. #godblessreggie," tweeted Chabert, a former Louisiana state senator, alongside a statement posted to social media by Tristan Paul Bagala.

In the statement, Tristan Bagala confirmed that his father had passed away. He called his deceased father an "honest and decent man, who loved unceasingly."

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...

Posted by Tristan Paul Bagala on Thursday, April 9, 2020

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

Newsweek reached out to Balaga's family for comment.

Louisiana state Rep. Reggie Bagala has died after a battle with COVID-19, according to his son. Louisiana State House

Balaga is the first Louisiana state lawmaker to die after contracting the novel virus. Chabert, a family friend, announced that Bagala had been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 on April 1. At the time, Chabert said Bagala, who was being treated at Ochsner St. Anne Hospital in Raceland, was hoping to be discharged by the weekend, according to NOLA.com.

"He was in great spirits when I talked to him this morning—thankful for everybody who reached out to him," she said.

Bagala had a setback one day later, on April 2, and was placed on a ventilator, Chabert said. "Reggie ... is a fighter and will get through this," she tweeted. "Please pray!"

Balaga is the first Louisiana state lawmaker to die after contracting the novel virus, but not the first to test positive or be hospitalized. State Rep. Ted James, 37, was hospitalized late last month after testing positive and battling pneumonia symptoms, according to NOLA.com.

coronavirus stock photo
Reggie Balaga is the first Louisiana state lawmaker to die after contracting the novel coronavirus. Sasirin Pamai/Getty

On Thursday afternoon, more than 468,000 individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S., with over 16,600 deaths. In the state of Louisiana, there are 18,283 positive cases, with a total of 702 deaths.

COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is now the deadliest domestic disease, killing more on a daily basis than cancer and heart disease. It was only last week that the virus was still the third leading cause of death.

Dr. Maria Danilychev, from San Diego, published a graph on Tuesday that showed the coronavirus as the cause of 1,970 deaths in the U.S. each day on average.

Medical experts in White House Coronavirus Task Force initially projected between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths domestically. A model produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle on April 8 estimated that the virus would cause 60,415 deaths.