How Did Rachel Held Evans Die? New Details On The Tragic Death Of The 37-Year-Old Christian Writer

She was put into a medically induced coma.

How Did Rachel Held Evans Die? New Details On The Tragic Death Of The 37-Year Christian Writer rachel held evans

Not every person of faith believes in traditional scripture or rules. For instance, with the Catholic church, you may only believe certain passages in the Bible, but think otherwise for others. And though some of us may not be religious at all, there are pioneers who question the original word and challenge religion altogether. Rachel Held Evans was one of those people.

Evans was a Christian columnist known for her works that questioned and challenged traditional beliefs in the Evangelical church. Tragically, she passed away on May 4th. But how did Rachel Held Evans die?


On April 14th, she was hospitalized following an allergic reaction to antibiotics, and announced she was being treated for a “flu and UTI combo.” She even tweeted that she would be unable to watch the final season premiere of Game of Thrones.

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On April 19th, her husband, Dan, updated her fans with the news that she was receiving treatment for an infection, but began “exhibiting unexpected symptoms,” including “constant seizures.” By May 2nd, her health had taken a turn for the worst, and she was put into a medically-induced coma in the ICU. Unfortunately, she died two days later at the age of 37.



A post shared by Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) on Oct 23, 2015 at 4:56pm PDT

According to Dan, who provided updates on her blog, shared that Evans had died after experiencing “massive brain swelling.” He wrote:

“Rachel was slowly weaned from the coma medication. Her seizures returned but at a reduced rate. There were periods of time where she didn’t have seizures at all. Rachel did not return to an alert state during this process. The hospital team worked to diagnose the primary cause of her seizures and proactively treated for some known possible causes for which diagnostics were not immediately available due to physical limitations.

Early Thursday morning, May 2, Rachel experienced sudden and extreme changes in her vitals. 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.

Rachel died early Saturday morning, May 4, 2019.

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. 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.”



A post shared by Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) on Feb 27, 2015 at 5:19am PST

It’s incredibly tragic that someone so intelligent and groundbreaking could pass away so young. Not only does Evans leave behind a husband, but two young children as well: a 3-year-old son, and a 1-year-old daughter.


Outside of motherhood and marriage, Evans published a number of books that “challenged traditional evangelical teachings, such as the role of women in the traditionally patriarchal church as well as the inclusion of LGBTQ church members.” She began her career as a journalist and columnist, and started her own blog in 2007.

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She published her first book, Faith Unraveled, about her struggles in Christianity, her doubts about the religion, and the evolution of her own faith. She published her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, in 2012; the book discussed the Bible’s standards and positions for women, and how she attempted to follow them. In an interview with NPR, she said, “That was a challenge because my husband and I have a very egalitarian relationship, so it was kind of weird trying to impose a hierarchy onto that relationship.”



A post shared by Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) on Apr 26, 2015 at 10:48am PDT

In 2016, after the birth of her first child, she wrote an article for Vox, defending her decision to vote for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Though Evans was a Christian and against abortion, she wrote, “Even though I think abortion is morally wrong in most cases, and support more legal restrictions around it, I often vote for pro-choice candidates when I think their policies will do the most to address the health and economic concerns that drive women to get abortions in the first place.”

One of the last pieces she published on her blog dealt with divisions within the Methodist Church over including LGBTQ individuals. Evans wrote:


“...It strikes me today that the liturgy of Ash Wednesday teaches something that nearly everyone can agree on. Whether you are part of a church or not, whether you believe today or your doubt, whether you are a Christian or an atheist or an agnostic or a so-called ‘none’ (whose faith experiences far transcend the limits of that label) you know this truth deep in your bones: ‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.’ 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.”

Her writings pushed the boundaries within religion, and allowed non-traditional members to feel validated in questioning teachings. And while her passing is extremely untimely and tragic, the messages she has passed on will never die.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.