Wife of Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr died of floppy valve syndrome, coroner says

Eleanor Carol Barr died unexpectedly in the family’s home Tuesday night at the age of 39.
Rep. Andy Barr and his wife, who went by Carol, speak with reporters outside his polling place in Lexington on Nov. 6, 2018.
Rep. Andy Barr and his wife, who went by Carol, speak with reporters outside his polling place in Lexington on Nov. 6, 2018. Timothy D. Easley / AP
/ Source: TODAY

Eleanor Carol Barr, the wife of Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr, died unexpectedly Tuesday night of a heart condition, according to a preliminary report from the Fayette County Coroner's Office. She was 39.

A press release obtained by TODAY listed mitral valve prolapse, also known as floppy valve syndrome, as the cause of death, per preliminary autopsy findings. The manner of death was listed as natural causes.

Most people who have floppy valve syndrome are born with the condition and aren't affected by any symptoms, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. When symptoms are present, they can include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, a cough, fatigue, migraine headaches and chest discomfort.

Floppy valve syndrome can sometimes be detected during routine physical exams. However, abnormal heart sounds can come and go, so additional tests to diagnose it may be needed.

Barr died at home in Lexington, Kentucky. Her time of death was listed as 6:55 p.m.

"During this tragic time, we respectfully ask for privacy for Congressman Barr and his family to grieve Mrs. Barr being called home to heaven," Rep. Andy Barr’s Chief of Staff Mary Rosado said in a statement. "Congressman Barr may release a more detailed statement at a later date, but right now is solely focused on being a father to his two beautiful daughters."

Barr had worked for Pfizer and was the executive director of Lexington’s Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship. Her husband represents Kentucky's sixth district, which includes the cities of Lexington, Richmond, and Frankfort.