It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we report Bre Payton, staff writer for The Federalist, has passed away at age 26:

According to a website set up by Bre’s family, she was diagnosed with H1N1 flu and possibly meningitis yesterday:

Around 8:30 this morning, December 27th, Bre’s friend went into her room and found her unresponsive and barely breathing. She immediately called 911 and Bre was taken to the hospital where she was admitted to the ICU, sedated & intubated, and doctors began working up a diagnosis. After a CT scan and hours of testing, they have determined she has the H1N1 flu and possibly meningitis.

From Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist:

And from Ben’s wife, Meghan McCain:

She will be missed:

Our prayers are with Bre’s family and all of her co-workers. Such a tragedy.

***