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Coroner Says Preliminary Findings Reached In Death Of Carol Barr, Wife Of GOP Congressman Andy Barr
Republican Andy Barr, with wife Carol Barr, was congratulated by supporters after unseating Ben Chandler for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District in Lexington, Kentucky, on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
Pablo Alcala/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT

The Fayette County coroner’s office has reached preliminary findings in the death of Carol Barr, the 39-year-old wife of Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY), who passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday at their family home in Lexington, Kentucky.

The coroner’s office announced on Wednesday that Barr died of a mitral valve prolapse, reports The New York Times of the preliminary findings. This condition, which is typically not serious, is characterized by the inability of either one or both of the mitral valves to close smoothly.

“When the heart pumps (contracts) part of one or both flaps collapse backward into the left atrium,” reads a digital hand-out from the American Heart Association, which notes that the condition affects up to 2% of the population, but can lead to a heart attack or stroke when “significant valve leakage” occurs.

The Times reports that the coroner is still waiting on results from histology and toxicology samples, a routine part of the autopsy process.

The couple married in 2008. Mary Rosado, Congressman Barr’s chief of staff, announced Carol Barr’s death in a statement Tuesday evening, saying the congressman might release a statement in the future, but that his focus is on “being a father to his two beautiful daughters,” who are seven- and nine-years-old.

On Wednesday, the congressman released a statement about his wife’s passing from his Twitter account: “At this time of tremendous grief and pain, we ask for prayers for our beautiful, dear and precious Carol, the greatest, most selfless and giving wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, anyone could ever have. We also ask for love and prayers for Carol’s greatest legacy – her loving and devoted daughters, Eleanor and Mary Clay – through whom Carol’s extraordinary life, high character, and irrepressible spirit will continue.”

“In this moment of profound grief and heartbreak, we are so grateful for the gift and blessing of Carol’s life, for her strong faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the comfort of fond memories and her victory in heaven and for all those who have surrounded Carol’s family, the girls and I with beautiful expressions of love, compassion and sympathy,” concluded Barr.

Politicians from across Kentucky, including Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and State Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R-KY) have extended their condolences to Barr and his two daughters.

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