Journalist Bre Payton, 26, dies in San Diego after sudden illness


Bre Payton, a journalist with the news website the Federalist and a frequent Fox News guest, died Friday in San Diego following what the site said was a sudden illness. She was 26.

The Federalist did not disclose what Payton’s illness was, but a post on the Caring Bridge website stated that doctors said she was ailing from H1N1 flu and meningitis.

According to the online post, a friend of Payton’s found her “unresponsive and barely breathing” in her room about 8:30 a.m. Thursday and called 911.


Payton was admitted into an intensive care unit, where she was “sedated and intubated,” the post states.

“After a CT scan and hours of testing, they (doctors) have determined she has the H1N1 flu and possibly meningitis,” according to the Caring Bridge post.

Early Friday, Payton’s friend and recent congressional candidate Morgan Murtaugh tweeted that she was the one who found the young journalist unconscious.

Murtaugh was the Republican candidate who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Susan Davis in November to represent the 53rd Congressional District.

Shortly before 11:30 a.m. Friday — about four hours after her initial tweet — Murtaugh tweeted the news of Payton’s death.

According to the Federalist, Payton was a featured commentator on Fox News, Fox Business and One America News Network, which is headquartered in San Diego.


The evening before she was found ailing, Payton had tweeted that she was filling in as host on the OAN show Tipping Point.

According to the Federalist, Payton was born and raised in California. She earned her degree in journalism from Patrick Henry College in Virginia, graduating in 2015.

She joined the Federalist staff that same year.

In announcing her death, the Federalist said Payton “brightened the lives of everyone around her.”

“She was joyful, hard-working and compassionate, and she leaves behind friends and colleagues for whom she brought nothing but sweetness and light,” the Federalist said.