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Fox News Commentator Dead At 26 After Sudden Illness

Bre Payton/Twitter

There is no right time to lose a loved one, but it is especially hard during the holidays.

When Bre Payton and her family celebrated Christmas a few days ago, they would have never in a million years thought it would be her last.

The conservative writer and guest commentator on Fox News, died on December 28 in San Diego. She was 26 years old.

Payton, whose last published article was dated December 20, was found unconscious by a friend she was staying with over the Christmas break.

"24 hours ago I found my friend unconscious and called 911," Morgan Murtaugh wrote on Twitter. "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."

Unfortunately, Payton's condition "worsened and worsened," and although she fought hard, she could not recover. Later that day, Murtaugh once again took to Twitter to announce that the young journalist had passed away.

"Thank you everyone for your prayers. It is with a heavy heart that I type this. Unfortunately Bre has passed," read the heartbreaking tweet. "Please send prayers to her family. Rest in paradise you beautiful soul."

Payton's cause of death was initially blamed on a "sudden illness," but it was later confirmed that she had the H1N1 virus (commonly known as the swine flu) as well as meningitis.

"She fought strong and lived a life worth noting in the books," read a memorial on the Caring Bridge website. "We are so incredibly honored to have known this wonderful human being."

The Federalist, the online magazine which Payton worked for, said she "brightened the lives of everyone around her."

Fellow political commentator and daughter of the late Senator John McCain also paid tribute to Payton on social media.

"Ben and I are absolutely gutted and horrified by this news," McCain wrote. "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."

In addition to Fox and The Federalist, Payton's work got published in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She also made appearances on MSNBC, CNN and NPR.

The California native had recently moved to Washington, but traveled to San Diego to guest host an OAN show called Tipping Point

Payton is survived by her parents, George and Cindy, and her siblings Jack, James, Cheekie and Christina.

The Bre Payton Scholarship Fund has since been started in her honor. Contributions can be made through the GoFundMe page here.

Payton is the third media personality to have died this month. Chris Burrous, a beloved Los Angeles morning news anchor died on Thursday from a possible overdose. A few weeks prior, Fox 2 Detroit meteorologist Jessica Starr took her own life.

[H/T: The Federalist]

Our thoughts and prayers are with Payton's family during this extremely challenging time. May she rest in peace.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.