Rep. Sean Casten mourned the loss of his 17-year-old daughter on Wednesday and said the teen died peacefully in her sleep.
The Illinois Democrat released a heartbreaking statement that said his oldest daughter, Gwen Casten, went to bed Sunday night and never woke up.
“There are no words to describe the hole in your heart when a child dies,” the congress member said in a statement from himself, his wife and his second daughter.
His office announced Gwen’s passing in a short statement Monday, but provided no further information at the time.
In new details, Rep. Casten recounted the night before the teen unexpectedly died.
He said Gwen, his wife Kara and younger daughter Audrey had dinner together as a family that night and then Gwen went out with friends for a few hours. After she returned home, she said goodnight to her parents, texted a friend to make sure she got home OK and went to bed. She never woke up.
Casten said the only thing he and his family knows about her death is that it was peaceful.
“And the only lesson we can take from that is to savor the moments you have with your loved ones,” he said. “We want purpose. We want to believe in a brighter tomorrow. But the only thing we can control is our present.”
Gwen planned to start college at the University of Vermont in the fall to study environmental science, Casten said.
The 17-year-old was passionate about music and, like her father, activism.
She played trumpet in her high school Downers Grove North’s jazz band, wind ensemble and pit orchestra in the spring production of Mary Poppins.
This is an excerpt from the New York Post.
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