Illinois Congressman Sean Casten announced Monday evening that his 17-year-old daughter, Gwen, has died,.
“The Casten family requests privacy, and we will be issuing no further comment during this heartbreaking time,” Casten’s office said in an email.
She had just graduated from high school, according to a tweet by her father in late May. Her Twitter bio says that she was a co-director of the Illinois chapter of March for Our Lives, the youth gun control advocacy group.
Shortly before Casten’s congressional office announced his daughter’s death, Casten’s campaign asked all Illinois TV stations to immediately pull his campaign spots off the air until further notice.
A Democrat from Downers Grove, the 50-year-old Casten is running for his third term in Congress in the newly drawn 6th District, which he has represented since defeating Republican incumbent Congressman Peter Roskam in 2018.
Casten is running against fellow incumbent Rep. Marie Newman, a freshman, and Nicor operation mechanic Charles Hughes.
“My heart breaks for the Casten family for the devastating loss of their daughter. My prayers are with Sean, Kara, and the entire Casten family,” Newman said in a statement.
Newman also is immediately suspending all her campaign ads.
Newman opted to challenge Casten in the 2022 primary after the congressional remap approved by the Democratic majority in the state capital of Springfield put her into the heavily Hispanic 3rd District, which is represented by Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Hughes, who is also a former candidate for Alderman in Chicago’s 23rd Ward, ran against Newman in 2020 in the state’s 3rd Congressional District, but he finished a distant fourth with just 2.3% of the vote in that race.
Representatives for Hughes’ campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.