Former Louisiana lawmaker Steve Carter, a Baton Rouge Republican who championed school choice issues during his three terms in the state House and spoke strongly in favor of following health guidelines to stop the spread of the coronavirus, died of complications from COVID-19. He was 77.

Carter died Tuesday, family spokesperson Charlotte Melder said, three weeks after he was hospitalized with the coronavirus.

"It is with very heavy hearts we report that Steve has lost his battle with COVID-19 tonight, surrounded by his family," Melder said in a statement.