The 17-year-old daughter of Illinois congressman Sean Casten has died.
Gwen Casten, who recently graduated from Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Ill., came home after going out with friends on Sunday, June 12, 2022. She was found dead the next morning. What happened? What's Gwen's cause of death?
Gwen Casten, Rep. Sean Casten's 17-year-old daughter, has passed away. What was her cause of death?
Before launching a career in politics in the 2010s, Rep. Casten worked as a chemical engineer and company founder championing sustainability. He was first elected in 2018. He continues to represent Illinois's 6th Congressional District.
His daughter, Gwen, shared his passion for green tech, as she was preparing to study Environmental Science at the University of Vermont.
Rep. Casten, his wife, Kara Casten, and younger daughter, Audrey, released a statement on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. They didn't share details about Gwen's cause of death.
"On Sunday night, we had dinner as a family, and then she went out with some friends for a few hours. 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," Rep. Casten wrote. "The only thing we know about her death is that it was peaceful."
An exemplary student, Gwen enjoyed playing the trumpet and furthering the work of the Empowerment Club.
A passionate musician and activist, Gwen partook in numerous high school activities. As the statement by the Casten family outlines, she enjoyed playing the trumpet a great deal and appeared in a high school production of Mary Poppins in the spring of 2022.
She was equally serious about demanding social justice. As the founder of the Empowerment Club, a school club addressing gun violence, environmental rights, and other topics, Gwen helped bring together many of her peers.
"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.
"Her two great passions in high school at Downers Grove North were music and activism," the family wrote in the statement. "She played trumpet in the Jazz Band, the Wind Ensemble, and the Pit Orchestra in this spring's production of Mary Poppins."
"She was inspired by the student efforts in the wake of the Parkland shooting to create an Empowerment Club in her high school, which became one of the largest clubs at DGN, focusing on everything from gun violence prevention to environmental protection to LGBTQ allyship to organizing Black Lives Matter rallies to registering students to vote," the statement reads.
"There are no words that can begin to describe the loss we are feeling," the members of the Empowerment Club wrote. "Gwen, founder and leader of [the] Empowerment Club, was cherished by all. Her hard work, determination, and beautiful personality were inspirations to everybody. She was so loved, and her incredible impact will live forever within our community. Thank you Gwen, for everything you have done to influence our lives, and fill them with love and positivity."