Minnesota State Sen. Jerry Relph (R) has passed away following complications related to the Chinese coronavirus, according to his family and colleagues.
According to MPR News, the 76-year-old lawmaker went to the emergency room twice last month after testing positive for the virus but was not hospitalized in those instances.
“He was one of several Republican state senators who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a post-election party,” the outlet reported, adding that “little had been known publicly about his condition”:
My heart is broken at the loss of my friend, fellow senator & Vice Chair of our Aging Committee, @SenatorRelph. Jerry was a veteran, attorney, entrepreneur, amazing husband to Pegi, loving father & a passionate senator. He will be greatly missed by all of us & especially MN. pic.twitter.com/w8M43KHOSx
— Karin Housley (@KarinHousley) December 19, 2020
— Rep. Dan Wolgamott (@RepWolgamott) December 19, 2020
“Jerry dedicated his life to service, and representing Senate District 14 was one of the highest honors he had,” his wife, Pegi Broker-Relph, said in a statement on Friday.
“I can’t count the number of times he would come home at night and tell me about helping solve a constituent’s problem, or a story he heard from someone in a parade or at a public event, or even just someone he met during a ‘day on the hill’ event,” she continued, adding that he “loved serving the people of St. Cloud in the Senate, and he cherished every minute of it.”
Relph, elected in 2016, lost his last election by just more than 300 votes.
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of Moderna’s vaccine for emergency use following the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, which U.S healthcare workers and members of Congress — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — received this week.