'The View' Co-Host Meghan McCain and Husband Mourn Fox News Commentator Bre Payton Who Died at 26

Meghan McCain and her husband, Ben Domenech, are mourning the loss of regular Fox News commentator and The Federalist writer Bre Payton following her death at the age of 26.

"We had the good fortune to know her as a close friend, beloved by all who knew her personally," the couple told PEOPLE. "We miss Bre very much and our prayers are with her family at this time."

Domenech, the founder of The Federalist and Payton's boss, and McCain added that "several events will take place in the coming weeks" to honor Payton's life.

Payton's death was confirmed by The Federalist on Dec. 28.

"Bre Payton, our beloved staff writer for The Federalist, passed away on Friday in San Diego, California, following a sudden illness," the online magazine wrote in a statement.

Although details regarding Payton's death remain unclear, it is believed to be due to the H1N1 virus, better known as the swine flu. According to her family, the 26-year-old had grown nauseous the night after Christmas. Her friend, Morgan Murtaugh, later found her unconscious in her room on the morning of Dec. 27.

"24 hours ago I found my friend unconscious and called 911. She's been in a coma since and really needs a miracle right now. Please if you're religious at all, send prayers this way. We really need them," she tweeted.

Murtaugh later announced that Payton had passed on Dec. 28.

Following news of her death, a number of politicians and other political figures paid tribute to her on social media, including McCain and Domenech.

"Ben and I are absolutely gutted and horrified by this news. Our prayers for @Bre_payton and her family. We are less vibrant without her— in every possible way. A wonderful, fearless, vibrant, intelligent young woman. Sending prayers to all of her family and friends during this darkness," McCain tweeted.


"This is not the news I wanted to be sharing to begin the New Year, but it must be done," Domenech wrote on his private Instagram account. He added that a private "family funeral for our beautiful colleague and friend" would be held on Saturday and that a "Memorial Service for all others will take place in Washington DC at Immaculate Conception Church on Saturday the 19th," where both he and Payton's boyfriend, Ryan Colby, will speak.

Payton will be laid to rest in Chino, California with a second memorial service to be held at her alma mater Patrick Henry College in Virginia the weekend following the service in Washington, D.C.