A Republican businessman and candidate for North Dakota’s state legislature appears to have won office after succumbing to COVID-19 last month, according to multiple reports published Wednesday. 

David Andahl, 55, died Oct. 5 after contracting the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 233,000 Americans. Yet he remained on the ballot and won one of two available seats in a four-person race with 35.53% of the vote.

Fellow Republican Dave Nehring also won, securing 40.72% of the unofficial tally.

Andahl’s family announced his death in a Facebook post, which said he “passed away yesterday after a short battle with COVID-19.”

“We are heartbroken, and we ask that he be remembered not by how he died, but by how he lived. David was a kind, caring man whose greatest joy was helping others,” according to the Oct. 6 post. “He has been a public servant for many years and was looking forward to the opportunity to serve in the state legislature. We are sad that his wish will not come to pass.”

COVID-19 has been climbing across the US as officials warn the country is in for a challenging winter with daily cases and deaths ticking up. That is fueled, in part, by more Americans opting to socialize indoors where the virus spreads far more easily as temperatures drop.

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