The daughter of Illinois Congressman, Sean Casten, has tragically died aged just seventeen years old.
The heartbreaking news was confirmed earlier this week that Gwen had passed away.
The congressman’s office shared the news on Twitter on June 13, and it was met with an outpouring of support for Casten and his family.
“This morning, Congressman Casten’s beloved daughter, Gwen (17), passed away,” the statement began.
“The Casten family requests privacy, and we will be issuing no further comment during this heartbreaking time.”
Thousands of tributes have poured in for Gwen and the Casten family since the news of her death emerged…
One Twitter user, who claimed to know her, wrote: “Gwen was an amazing human being and I am so happy I had the privilege of meeting her. I can’t imagine what the Casten family is going through. So sorry for your loss. Will keep your family in my prayers.”
“I’m so very sorry for your heartbreaking loss my deepest condolences and my sorrow to you and your family,” a second commented.
A third shared their sympathy and understanding writing: “I am so deeply sorry he and his family are suffering such an agonizing loss. Nothing is as harsh and traumatic as the death of one’s child. I lost my 19 y/o son 8 years ago; I know too well the depth of their pain. My heart aches for them; children shouldn’t die.”
Other lawmakers also shared their condolences with the congressman, including Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, who tweeted: “I am so very sorry. Sending you love and light.”
State Representative Bob Morgan also commented on the tragic news: “This is awful beyond words. You and your family are in my prayers, and I hope you find strength in the difficult days ahead. May Gwen’s memory be a blessing upon us all.”
Just last month, Gwen graduated from Downers Grove North High School.
She planned on attending the University of Vermont later this year with hopes of studying environmental science.
Since her passing, the Empowerment Club — which she set up at her high school — has released a statement about the teen, saying she “was cherished by all.”
“There are no words that can begin to describe the loss we are feeling,” they wrote on Instagram.
“She was so loved, and her incredible impact will live forever within our community.”
They concluded their post: “Thank you Gwen, for everything you have done to influence our lives and fill them with love and positivity. You were truly a force to be reckoned with. We will miss you.”
At the start of the year, Gwen opened up, sharing her excitement about turning eighteen and how this would be a “big year […] filled with lots of milestones, like voting for the first time.”
She clearly had a huge impact on those around her and will be deeply missed by all the lives she touched.
Her cause of death has not yet been announced.
Rest in peace, Gwen.