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Tipsheet

Congressman Releases More Details About the Death of His Teenage Daughter

AP Photo by Sara Burnett

Democratic Congressman Sean Casten’s family released a longer statement on Wednesday about the death of their 17-year-old daughter, Gwen.

In social media posts, the Illinois lawmaker shared a photo of his daughter who died Monday at their home along with a statement.

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"There are no words to describe the hole in your heart when a child dies. Gwen was a happy, healthy, well-adjusted young woman," the family said about Gwen, who was passionate about music and activism and planned to attend the University of Vermont in the fall to study environmental science.

"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,” the statement said. “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."

The family said they shared a Sunday dinner together before Gwen went out with her 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," the family shared. "The only thing we know 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.

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"We want purpose,” the statement added. “We want to believe in a brighter tomorrow. But the only thing we can control is our present."

“To all asking what they can do, we ask only that you live your lives as Gwen lived hers,” the statement said. “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.”

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