A former longtime Alabama senator had a chilling final message before he died of COVID-19 last week: “We messed up.”

Larry Dixon, 78, contracted the bug during an outdoors hangout “with a couple of guys” two weeks ago — and his worsening condition left him on a ventilator, his close friend and pulmonologist Dr. David Thrasher told NBC News.

Dixon’s wife Gaynell Dixon told Thrasher that her husband issued one final plea before his death.

“We messed up. We let our guard down,” he said, according to Thrasher. “Please tell everybody to be careful. This is real, and if you get diagnosed, get help immediately.”

Dixon, a Republican, represented Alabama’s District 25 in the Senate from 1983 until 2010, when he retired. He was also a member of the state House and Montgomery City Council.

From 1981 until 2016, Dixon served as executive director of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, which issues medical licenses to professionals. The board confirmed his passing in a statement.

“While we mourn Larry Dixon’s passing, we are forever grateful for his distinguished service to the medical profession and to the State of Alabama,” the board wrote.

“He set an incredible example of service for us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Gaynell, and his family during this difficult time.”

Gaynell Dixon was also diagnosed with coronavirus and is recovering.

Thrasher said the couple’s two daughters also tested positive this year but have recovered.

Alabama hit a daily record high on Dec. 2 for new COVID-19 cases, recording 3,928. A total of 3,892 people in the state have died from the virus.

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