Bre Payton, a writer for the conservative news site The Federalist and a guest commentator for Fox News, died suddenly Friday in San Diego. She was 26 years old.
A friend, Morgan Murtaugh, along with The Federalist, confirmed her death late Friday. Murtaugh said Payton was diagnosed with swine flu and was found unconscious Thursday morning.
"Thank you everyone for your prayers. It is with a heavy heart that I type this. Unfortunately Bre has passed. Please send prayers to her family. Rest in paradise you beautiful soul," Murtaugh tweeted.
Murtaugh created a Caring Bridge page for Payton, writing that she was found unconscious on Thursday at around 8:30 a.m. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with H1N1 flu and meningitis.
Payton's family also launched a GoFundMe page to raise $50,000 for the Bre Payton Scholarship fund.
"Thank you for contributing to the Bre Payton Scholarship Fund," her family wrote. "In loving memory of Bre’s beautiful light, joyful spirit, hard-working ethics, and compassionate heart. This fund will go towards college scholarships to support other young, rising Christian leaders who share in Bre’s passion for truth, purpose, and life."
"Ben and I are absolutely gutted and horrified by this news," Meghan McCain, The View co-host and daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, wrote on Twitter. "Our prayers for @Bre_payton and her family. We are less 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."
According to The Federalist's obituary, Payton was a graduate of the Western Christian High School Private Satellite Program and earned a degree in journalism from Patrick Henry College in 2015. In April 2015, she joined The Federalist and appeared on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel and OANN. She also co-hosted the podcast Problematic Women.
My podcast co-host. My Problematic Woman in crime. My birthday twin. My very dear friend. At just 26, @Bre_payton was youger than me, but felt more like my big sister. I am in complete shock that we lost this beautiful soul, and am comforted only by the faith she had in the Lord. pic.twitter.com/8rUNejejdu— Kelsey Harkness (@kelseyjharkness) December 28, 2018
"Bre brightened the lives of everyone around her. She was joyful, hard-working, and compassionate, and she leaves behind friends and colleagues for whom she brought nothing but sweetness and light," The Federalist wrote.
"My podcast co-host. My Problematic Woman in crime. My birthday twin. My very dear friend. At just 26, @Bre_payton was [younger] than me, but felt more like my big sister. I am in complete shock that we lost this beautiful soul, and am comforted only by the faith she had in the Lord," Problematic Women co-host Kelsey Harkness tweeted.
Payton is survived by four siblings, her parents and her boyfriend.
Photo credit: Fox News