Nolan Mettetal, a former State Senator and State Representative, passed away early Monday morning at the age of 75 following a battle with COVID-19 and pneumonia.

“He is not suffering anymore and can breathe now without all of the terrible masks,” his wife posted on Facebook. “We were all there holding his hand as he took his last breathe.”

Mettetal served 16 years in the Mississippi State Senate from 1996 to 2012 representing District 10 before serving 2 terms in the Mississippi House of Representatives, also representing District 10.

He did not seek re-election in 2019, saying then it was time for someone else to serve.

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann spoke fondly of Mettetal in a statement issued by his office following the news of the passing of the former legislator.

“Our friend, Nolan Mettetal, died from COVID today,” Hosemann tweeted.  “A member of the Mississippi House/Senate from Panola County, he and ‘Mrs. Kay’ were always together in Jackson. Nolan provided leadership for over 2 decades not only on policy, but also on personal character/statesmanship.”

Speaker of the Mississippi House Philip Gunn called Mettetal his friend, noting the lawmaker’s kindness and calm, considerate manner.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Nolan Mettetal,” Gunn said in a statement. “Nolan served Mississippi and the people of District 10 with distinction during his many years in the Mississippi Legislature. He will be remembered for his kindness and calm, considerate manner in all circumstances. Nolan was an esteemed colleague, and it was an honor to call him my friend.”

Mettetal, a pharmacist by trade, was first elected as a Democrat and switched to the Republican Party in 2008, saying, “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me.”