"Gwen was a healthy 2022 teenager. She ate well, exercised, got regular check-ups, didn't suffer from any behavioral health issues, and had close relationships with family and friends. She was fully vaccinated, and quarantined after occasional positive, asymptomatic COVID tests during the omicron wave. She had just come home from an evening with friends, went to bed and didn't wake up," the family noted.
"We are heartbroken, but we are not unique. Sudden, unexplained heart-failure among young, healthy people is rare but real. We are left grasping at the wrong end of random chance," the statement read. "None of us know when our last heartbeat will come. The best we can hope for is that when our loved ones do pass, we will have no regrets about the time we were lucky enough to share."
In a June statement, the family noted that the teenager had been slated to go to the University of Vermont.
"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," the statement in June noted. "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."
Casten, an Illinois Democrat who entered office in 2019, is currently seeking reelection during the 2022 election contest.