Illinois Democrat Sean Casten says daughter’s passing was ‘peaceful’

Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) shared further details about the circumstances surrounding his teenage daughter’s passing in a statement Wednesday.

Casten, whose daughter Gwen, 17, died earlier this week, said that on Sunday night he, Gwen, his wife Kara and other daughter Audrey had dinner together as a family before everyone went to bed.

“When she got home, she said goodnight to Kara and I, texted a friend to make sure she got home OK, and didn’t wake up on Monday morning,” Casten wrote in the statement. “The only thing we know about her death is that it was peaceful.”

The Downers Grove Police Department said that officials responded to a call about “an unresponsive seventeen year old female” in the early morning on Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported. First responders “determined that the subject was deceased.”

Casten wrote in his statement that Gwen was going to start her freshman year of college at the University of Vermont this fall, where she was planning to study environmental science. He said that her “two great passions” were music and activism and that she was inspired after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., to start an activism club that focused on gun violence prevention, LGBTQ rights and other issues.

“We are grateful to all who have reached out with thoughts, condolences and help,” the congressman wrote. “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.”

Updated 2:10 p.m.

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