Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) issued a statement Wednesday on the tragic death of his 17-year-old daughter, Gwen, who reportedly died in her sleep Monday morning.
The cause of death has yet to be uncovered, though the congressman said Gwen’s death was peaceful.
“We are grateful to all who have reached out with thoughts, condolences and help,” Casten posted to his Twitter account, captioning a photo of his daughter. “To all asking what they can do, we ask only that you live your lives as Gwen lived hers.”
The congressman and his family had dinner on Sunday night, and afterward, Gwen went out with some friends, according to a statement. When she returned, she said goodnight to her parents, went to bed, and then didn’t wake up.
“The only thing we know about her death is that it was peaceful,” he said. “And the only lesson we can take from that is to savor the moments you have with your loved ones. We want purpose. We want to believe in a brighter tomorrow. But the only thing we can control is our present.”
We are grateful to all who have reached out with thoughts, condolences and help. To all asking what they can do, we ask only that you live your lives as Gwen lived hers. pic.twitter.com/AdQTpzsnTP
— Rep. Sean Casten (@RepCasten) June 15, 2022
Casten noted that Gwen loved music and activism, “specifically her performances with her school’s jazz band, wind ensemble, and pit orchestra, as well as her creation of a school Empowerment Club where she and fellow students dedicated their time to issues including gun violence, the environment, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter rallies, and voter registration,” Fox News reported.
“There are no words to describe the hole in your heart when a child dies,” the congressman’s statement continued, adding that the teen was “a happy, healthy, well adjusted young woman” set to attend University of Vermont in the fall.
“To all asking what they can do, we ask only that you live your lives as Gwen lived hers. Savor the moments. Use every ounce of energy you have to ensure a better, more tolerant, more generous, more loving tomorrow,” Casten closed the statement. “Not because you know that your tomorrow will come, but because you know that someone else’s will. Lead with Love.”