SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen, a staunch conservative, has died at age 52.
Ericksen’s death Friday came weeks after he said he had tested positive for the coronavirus while in El Salvador, though his cause of death wasn’t immediately released. The state Senate Republican Caucus confirmed his passing Saturday but did not say where he died.
Ericksen, a Ferndale Republican, reached out to Republican colleagues last month saying he had taken a trip to El Salvador and tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after he arrived. Reasons for his visit were unclear.
In a message to state House and Senate members, Ericksen asked for advice on how to receive monoclonal antibodies, which were not available in the Latin American nation. He soon arranged a medevac flight from El Salvador, former state Rep. Luanne Van Werven said. The senator was recovering at a Florida hospital Van Werven said the following week.
Ericksen represented the 42nd District in Whatcom County and had been in the Legislature since 1998, The Seattle Times reported. He served six terms in the state House before being elected to the Senate in 2010.
Ericksen was a former leader of Donald Trump’s campaign in Washington. He was also an outspoken critic of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 emergency orders, and had introduced legislation aimed at protecting the rights of people who do not wish to get vaccinated.
It was unclear if Ericksen had been inoculated against the coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should be fully vaccinated before visiting El Salvador, where current levels of COVID-19 are “high.”