Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr said wife Carol was "the greatest, most selfless and giving wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend anyone could ever have"

By Adam Carlson
June 17, 2020 03:07 PM

Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr's wife, 39-year-old Eleanor Carol Leavell Barr, was remembered by her husband as "dear and precious" in a statement Wednesday morning.

The congressman's spouse, who went by Carol, died in the family's Lexington home on Tuesday night, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader and other news outlets.

While The New York Times reported that she "likely" suffered a massive, fatal brain aneurysm, the Fayette County coroner said later Wednesday that her cause of death appeared to be mitral valve prolapse, according to the Associated Press.

A brief statement from the coroner's office on Tuesday night listed her manner of death as natural and stated that she died shortly before 7 p.m. An autopsy was pending, the corner said then.

In his statement on Wednesday morning, Rep. Barr, 46, spoke of his "profound grief" but did not provide further information about Carol's death.

Andy Barr, Carol, and their daughters
Carol and Andy Barr (center) with their daughters
| Credit: Andy Barr/Facebook

The couple, married since 2008, share two young girls: Eleanor, 9, and 7-year-old Mary Clay.

"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," Barr said in his Wednesday statement, released by his office.

"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," he continued.

Andy Barr Eleanor Carol Leavell
Rep. Andy Barr (right) next to wife Carol in 2015
| Credit: Cliff Owen/AP/Shutterstock
Carol Barr; Andy Barr
Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr (right) with his wife, Carol, in 2018
| Credit: Timothy D Easley/AP/Shutterstock

An alumna of the University of Kentucky, Carol had recently worked in health care and had grown up in Georgetown, Kentucky, according to the Herald-Leader.

"[Carol's] warmth filled whatever room she entered and her contributions made Kentucky a better place for all of us," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Elaine, said in a statement.

“She was a true Kentuckian,” said the state's agriculture commissioner, Ryan Quarles, according to the Herald-Leader. “She loved our state and always had a smile on her face.”

Rep. Barr said Wednesday that his family's faith was a succor.

"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," he said in his statement, "and for all those who have surrounded Carol’s family, the girls and I with beautiful expressions of love, compassion and sympathy."

• With reporting by WENDY GROSSMAN KANTOR