SAN DIEGO -- Bre Payton, a writer for the conservative news site The Federalist and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and other media outlets, died suddenly Friday at the age of 26.
The Federalist and a friend, Morgan Murtaugh, confirmed Payton's death in San Diego.
Murtaugh tweeted that she found her friend unconscious on Thursday morning and doctors determined Payton had H1N1 flu — also known as swine flu — and meningitis.
In recent appearances on Fox News, Payton had condemned what she called "fake news" media coverage of President Donald Trump and "sexist and bigoted" coverage of first lady Melania Trump.
An obituary in The Federalist called Payton "joyful, hard-working, and compassionate." It said she had a deep Christian faith.
In a tweet, Meghan McCain, daughter of late Sen. John McCain, called Payton "a wonderful, fearless, vibrant, intelligent young woman."
The Federalist said Payton received a journalism degree in 2015 from Patrick Henry College in Virginia and joined The Federalist that April. She later appeared as a guest commentator on the Fox News Channel and One America News Network.
Payton was survived by her parents, George and Cindy; siblings James, Jack, Christina and Cheekie; and boyfriend Ryan Colby, according to The Federalist.