Illinois Rep. Sean Casten, a Democrat, announced Friday that his daughter’s death in June was from a cardiac arrhythmia.
“This past June, our daughter, Gwen Casten, died of a sudden cardiac arrythmia. In layman’s terms, she was fine, and then her heart stopped,” the Casten family wrote in a statement.
Gwen Casten, 17, died peacefully in her sleep in June after eating dinner with her parents and then going out with friends for a few hours.
The congressman said after his daughter’s passing that she had been looking forward to starting her freshman year at the University of Vermont this fall.
The family said Gwen was a healthy teenager who ate well, exercised, received regular medical check-ups, did not suffer from any behavioral issues and was close with friends and family.
She was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the family said in their statement.
“We are heartbroken, but we are not unique,” the statement read. “Sudden, unexplained heart-failure among young, healthy people is rare but real. We are left grasping at the wrong end of random chance.”
The family said they are grateful for the “outpouring of love” they have received over the past few months.