Congressman Sean Casten Shares the Final Moments Before Daughter Gwen’s “Peaceful” Death

Two days after the tragic loss of his 17-year-old daughter Gwen, Illinois Congressman Sean Casten paid tribute to his oldest in a family statement which detailed the final moments of her life.

By Ashley Joy Parker Jun 16, 2022 12:29 AMTags
Watch: In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2022

A peaceful passing.

As Illinois Congressman Sean Casten continues to mourn the loss of his daughter Gwen, the lawmaker paid tribute to the 17-year-old and disclosed the heartbreaking details of the last time he saw her alive.

The politician shared a statement on Twitter, which he also signed from his wife Kara and 15-year-old daughter Audrey, detailing how Gwen enjoyed a family dinner on the evening June 12 before heading out with some friends.

"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," he wrote June 15. "The only thing that we know about her death is that it was peaceful."

The father also reflected on his oldest child's numerous accomplishments and diverse passions.

"There are no words to describe the hole in your heart when a child dies," he shared. "Gwen was a happy, healthy, well adjusted young woman who was looking forward to starting her freshman year at the University of Vermont where she was planning to study Environmental Science."

The 21 Lives Lost in the Uvalde School Shooting

Not only was Gwen passionate about music—she played trumpet and participated in her school's production of Mary Poppins—but she was also an activist. Inspired by the student efforts in the wake of the Parkland High School shooting, she created the Empowerment Club at her high school which focused on "everything from gun violence prevention to environmental protection to LGBTQ allyship to organizing Black Lives Matter rallies to registering students to vote."


"She had the good fortune to have a community of good friends, teachers and family and the good wisdom to realize how much she owed them," he continued. "If her light seemed a bit brighter than most it was because she was so generous in reflecting back the light and love that so many gave to her."

Amid the family's heartache, there is a lesson to be taken away from this tragedy: Savor the moments we have with our loved ones.

"We want purpose. We want to believe in a brighter tomorrow," the lawmaker shared. "But the only thing we can control is our present."

Finally, the representative and his family expressed their gratitude to those who reached out with thoughts and condolences and offered one point of thought.


"To all asking what they can do, we ask only that you live your lives as Gwen lived hers," the statement closed. "Savor the moments. Use every ounce of energy you have to ensure a better, more tolerant, more generous, more loving tomorrow. Not because you know that your tomorrow will come, but because you know that someone else's will. Lead with Love. - Sean, Kara, and Audrey Casten."

On June 13, the politician's office shared in a tweet that Gwen had passed away but issued no further comment. A cause of death has not yet been revealed, however, the Dupage County coroner in Illinois told E! News that "her passing is under investigation." 

Latest News