Sean Casten and his family with Barack Obama
Source: Twitter / @gwencasten

Gwen Casten (second from the left)

What Happened to Illinois Rep. Sean Casten's Daughter?

Danielle Letenyei - Author

Jun. 14 2022, Published 10:59 a.m. ET

Illinois Congressman Sean Casten and his family are mourning the death of his 17-year-old daughter, Gwen, who died Monday at the family’s home in Downers Grove. What happened to Casten’s daughter?

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There isn't any news yet on how the eldest of Casten’s two daughters died. A statement about her death was posted to Casten’s Twitter page on June 13.

“This morning, Congressman Casten’s beloved daughter, Gwen (17), passed away. The Casten family requests privacy, and we will be issuing no further comment during this heartbreaking time,” tweeted Casten’s office.

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sean casten
Source: Getty Images

Casten is a Democrat representing Illinois’ 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. When he was elected to the seat in 2018, he was the first Democrat elected to represent the district in about 50 years.

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Gwen recently appeared in a campaign ad for Sean Casten.

Casten is running for reelection against fellow Democrat U.S. Rep. Marie Newman for the newly redrawn 6th district, the Chicago Tribune reports. Gwen recently appeared in a campaign ad for Casten. In the commercial spot, Gwen talks about turning 18 and getting to vote for the first time.

“Sean Casten. My Congressman. But I just call him Dad,” Gwen says in the video.

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Gwen Casten was a politically active student.

Gwen was politically active in her own right. According to her Twitter page, she was co-director of the Illinois chapter of March for Our Lives, a non-profit student-led organization that supports gun control and seeks to end gun violence. She was also involved with the DGN Empowerment Club, a student club that aims to raise awareness of issues like gun control, climate change, and racial and gender discrimination.

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Gwen also organized a “Stop the Bleed” training at her school, which helps students learn how to pack a gunshot wound to stop the bleeding in a severely injured person. DuPage County board member Dawn DeSart called Gwen a “shero” for organizing the event. “Our future is secure with teens like Gwen leading the way,” DeSart tweeted.

“I both have tremendous pride that my daughter took the initiative to organize that and tremendous shame that we as a country are making it the responsibility of 15, 16, and 17-year-old kids to do what sitting United States senators don’t have the courage to do themselves,” Casten told Newsy.

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In February 2021, Gwen and her father wrote an opinion piece for her high school newspaper on their differing perspectives on the Jan. 6 insurrection. In the article, Gwen expressed her concern for Casten’s safety.

“This was something that people my age have never experienced, watching our very own Capitol be under siege. On top of that, I was worrying about my father’s safety, and thinking about worst-case scenarios, which was unbearable,” Gwen wrote.

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Casten's family has received an outpouring of condolences.

Casten and his family have received an outpouring of condolences since the announcement of Gwen’s death.

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“This is awful beyond words. You and your family are in my prayers, and I hope you find strength in the difficult days ahead. May Gwen’s memory be a blessing upon us all,” tweeted Rep. Bob Morgan, who represents Illinois’ 58th district.

“I cannot even begin to describe how much my heart aches for the Casten family. I am sending my love to Sean, Kara, Audrey, and all those who knew and loved Gwen. May her memory be a blessing,” tweeted Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who represents Illinois’ 9th district.


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