California journalist and frequent Fox News guest Bre Payton died suddenly Friday at age 26, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The Federalist, the news website for which Payton wrote, says only that Payton suffered a sudden illness; according to a GoFundMe campaign set up to raise money for a scholarship in her name, tests showed Payton had the H1N1 flu and encephalitis after a friend found her "unresponsive and barely breathing" at her San Diego home Thursday morning.
That friend was Morgan Murtaugh, who posted on Twitter about finding Payton; Murtaugh was the Republican candidate who unsuccessfully ran against incumbent Rep. Susan Davis, the Democrat representing California's 53rd District, in November. The Federalist says Payton, who started writing for the site in 2015, was "a rising star on cable news," regularly acting as a political commentator on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, and OANN. "Though we are heartbroken and devastated by Bre’s death, we are comforted in the knowledge that she was a woman who lived a life marked by deep Christian faith, trusting in her Savior, Jesus Christ," the site says. (A 43-year-old LA news anchor died after being found unresponsive in a hotel room Thursday.)