Jessica Campbell, a former actress who starred in Election with Reese Witherspoon, has died at the age of 38. According to TMZ, Campbell's family confirmed that she suddenly passed away on Dec. 29 in Portland, Oregon. According to her cousin, Sarah Wessling, Campbell had not shown any serious signs of illness, but had complained of congestion, and implied that she believed she was coming down with a cold. The family did not presume she'd contracted COVID-19, but they are still waiting for autopsy results from the Multnomah County Medical Examiner.
Campbell was most well known for her role in Election, playing the younger sister of Chris Klein's character, and starring opposite other big names such as Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. Her performance in the film earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Debut Performance. She would later go on to work on Freaks and Geeks, as well as a few other movies, including 2001's The Safety of Objects, which also starred Glenn Close, Dermot Mulroney, Joshua Jackson, Timothy Olyphant and a young Kristen Stewart.
After quitting acting, Campbell became a naturopathic physician and worked in the field until her death. Wessling shared that the day Campbell died had been just like any other, and she'd stopped by to visit her mother and aunt after work. At one point, Campbell went to the bathroom but never returned. When they went to check on her, they found Campbell collapsed on the floor. Her aunt attempted to revive her, as did EMTs, but Campbell never regained consciousness.
TMZ noted that Campbell's body has been cremated and that the family is in the process of planning a memorial. Tragically, Campbell leaves behind a 10-year-old son, Oliver. The family has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the child. Among those who contributed is filmmaker Judd Apatow, who created Freaks and Geeks.
In a description section of the GoFundMe, Wessling wrote of her late cousin, "A true adventurer in every sense of the word, Jessica packed a staggering amount of experiences into her tragically short lifetime." She later added, "Traveling the world, acting, becoming a doctor, being Mom to the coolest kid ever; these bucket list items wove the quotidian fabric of her reality. Her passion for life and the people in it was astounding. In addition to the impressive energy she poured into her own life, Jessica, on multiple occasions, dropped everything to travel across state lines and care for her loved ones in need. She was fun, she was loud, she was compassionate and loyal; no matter what she did, she was always uniquely Jessica."