Illinois Congressman Sean Casten urged people to “live your lives as Gwen lived hers” in a poignant statement following the death of his 17-year-old daughter.
A cause of death has not been released for Gwen, who was found dead Monday.
In the message shared to Twitter, Casten and his family said they had dinner with Gwen on Sunday night, and that she went out for a few hours with 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 joint statement read.
“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.”
The family said Gwen was set to study environmental science at the University of Vermont and described her biggest passions as music and activism.
Gwen supported the Black Lives Matter movement and the LGBT community, and advocated for protecting the environment and preventing gun violence through an Empowerment Club at her high school, which she started after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the statement says.
“We are grateful to all who have reached out with thoughts, condolences and help,” the family said. “To all asking what they can do, we ask only that you live your lives as Gwen lived hers. Savor the moments. Use every ounce of energy you have to ensure a better, more tolerant, more generous, more loving tomorrow.”