Staffer for Rep. Vern Buchanan dies of COVID-19


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gary Tibbetts, a longtime staffer of Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan has died from complications of COVID-19, Buchanan announced on Twitter Friday.

“Devastated by the death of my longtime staffer Gary Tibbetts, who passed away today at Manatee Memorial Hospital from COVID-19,” Buchanan said in a statement. “Gary was the consummate professional and a true public servant in every sense of the word.”

Buchanan previously said Tibbetts was being treated at Manatee Memorial Hospital after testing positive for the virus. He added that neither himself nor his staff had had any recent contact with Tibbetts.

Tibbetts had worked for Buchanan as a special assistant and field representative since 2011. Buchanan has served the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 16th congressional district since 2013.

Tibbetts is the first congressional staffer that’s been confirmed to have died of the virus.

Florida surpassed 400,000 cases of the coronavirus on Friday with the state reporting an additional 12,444 cases and 135 deaths. The death toll stands at 5,653.


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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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