Fellow writers and fans of Rachel Held Evans are expressing shock and sorrow as word of the renowned Christian author’s unexpected death has spread.
Evans, who was from Dayton, Tennessee, and known for her progressive Christian voice, died early Saturday morning after a brief illness, according to her husband, Dan Evans, who shared the news of her death on her website.
“This entire experience is surreal. I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story,” Dan Evans said.
“I cannot express how much the support means to me and our kids. To everyone who has prayed, called, texted, driven, flown, given of themselves physically and financially to help ease this burden: Thank you. We are privileged. Rachel’s presence in this world was a gift to us all and her work will long survive her.”
Rachel Held Evans, a speaker and a writer, is known for her blog as well her numerous best-selling books, including “Faith Unraveled,” “A Year of Biblical Womanhood,” “Searching for Sunday” and “Inspired”.
In mid-April, Evans was put in a medically-induced coma when doctors found that she was experiencing constant seizures while they were treating her for an infection. The news of her illness spurred an online fundraiser as well as an outpouring of prayers shared on social media with #PrayForRHE.
Her condition worsened Thursday morning, Dan Evans said in his Saturday post announcing her death:
“Rachel experienced sudden and extreme changes in her vitals,” Dan Evans said. “The team at the hospital discovered extensive swelling of her brain and took emergency action to stabilize her. The team worked until Friday afternoon to the best of their ability to save her. This swelling event caused severe damage and ultimately was not survivable.”
She died at a Nashville hospital at the age of 37, Slate reported Saturday.
Fans and fellow writers turned to social media to share their grief and support for Evans’ family.
“It it with a broken heart I post this: my sweet friend Rachel died this morning. I will forever be grateful for her friendship and work and love. Thank you for your prayers,” author and pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber said on Twitter. “We were able to surround her last night. Offered her our touch and tears and song. I anointed her with oil. She was and is well loved.”
“Eshet chayil, beloved Woman of Valor. You ran a beautiful, faithful race. We are crushed. Well done, good and faithful servant,” said author Jen Hatmaker, in a tweet.
Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, asked for people to pray and financially support her family.
“I am shocked and broken-hearted to hear of the death of @rachelheldevans. Please stop right now and pray for this young family,” Moore said on Twitter. “@rachelheldevans leaves behind a husband and two small children, one 3 and one less than one year old. As many as can, let’s please help this grieving young family with the overwhelming medical bills.”
Bible teacher Beth Moore shared her sorrow on Twitter, too.
“Sobbing over @rachelheldevans’ death. My heart is broken for Dan and the children and for all of you who loved her so so much. I will spend the time I’ve been daily praying for her praying for all of you,” Beth Moore said.