Rachel Held Evans, a popular, progressive Christian writer who challenged the traditional evangelical views, died Saturday, her husband confirmed in a blog post. She was 37.
Evans was hospitalized in April for what she described in a tweet as a "a flu + UTI combo and a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics they gave me." Her husband, Daniel Evans, had been updating on her blog about her health, writing that she had been placed in a medically-induced coma.
On Saturday, he wrote that she had been weaned from coma medication, but seizures had continued and severe swelling of her brain had been found, which he wrote caused severe damage that "ultimately was not survivable."
"This entire experience is surreal," Daniel Evans wrote. "I keep hoping it's a nightmare from which I'll awake. I feel like I'm telling someone else's story."
Evans was the author of several books, including "Faith Unraveled," "The Year of Biblical Womanhood," "Searching for Sunday" and "Inspired." She spent more than a decade writing about what she described as "faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt" on her blog.
Her popular writing and views on Christianity often enraged traditional evangelicals. In 2015, The Washington Post called her the "most polarizing woman in evangelicalism." She was an advocate for LGBT membership in the church, urged fellow pro-life Christians to vote for Hillary Clinton and wrestled with the role of the patriarchy in the church. She served on former President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
She eventually left the evangelical church, writing in 2016 that "church universal is so much bigger than white American evangelicalism, and that's going to become ever more apparent in the months and years to come."
She is survived by her husband and two children. Tributes to her poured out online with the hashtags #BecauseOfRHE and #PrayForRHE.
"I have lost my words, my bearings, my magnetic pole, because it feels like I have lost a sister. I'm grateful to you all for your words of comfort and love. Being with her to the end is one of the greatest honors of my life. Seeing how deeply and widely she was loved blesses us," wrote writer Sarah Blessey.
In her last blog post in March about Lent, she wrote "Death is a part of life. My prayer for you this season is that you make time to celebrate that reality, and to grieve that reality, and that you will know you are not alone."
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