Family of Congressman Sean Casten Say Daughter Died of Sudden Cardiac Arrhythmia

Photo of Gwen Casten, daughter of Congressman Sean Casten
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The family of Illinois Rep. Sean Casten said in a statement released today that their teenage daughter Gwen died of a sudden cardiac arrhythmia.

“In layman’s terms, she was fine, and then her heart stopped,” the statement read. “We don’t know what caused the arrythmia, and likely never will.”

No Indication of Illness in Daughter

Gwen was just 17 when she died on June 13. The family said she had been out with friends the night before, then came home, went to sleep, and never woke up. They said all signs up to then had pointed to her being a healthy teenager.

“She ate well, exercised, got regular check-ups, didn’t suffer from any behavioral health issues, and had close relationships with family and friends. She was fully vaccinated, and quarantined after occasional positive, asymptomatic COVID tests during the omicron wave,” the family said in the statement.

Casten Family Grateful For Outpouring Of Support

Gwen had recently graduated from Downers Grove North High School, and had plans to attend the University of Vermont. The family noted the outpouring of love they had received from the public over the past few months, and expressed their gratitude. They said they are also appreciative of all the donations to the Downers Grove North Friends of Fine Arts and March for our Lives made in Gwen’s name. Both were causes important to their daughter.

“We are heartbroken, but we are not unique. Sudden, unexplained heart-failure among young, healthy people is rare but real. We are left grasping at the wrong end of random chance,” said the family.

They closed their statement remembering their daughter with love.

“She had a big, beautiful, kind, loving heart. And it stopped, as all must,” they said. “None of us know when our last heartbeat will come. The best we can hope for is that when our loved ones do pass, we will have no regrets about the time we were lucky enough to share. So hug the folks you love a little harder today. Be present in their lives. And spread your love a little farther. Because in the end, it’s all that remains.”

Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.

photo courtesy: Congressman Sean Casten

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