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Bestselling Christian writer Rachel Held Evans dies at 37 after complications from the flu

Rachel Held Evans, a popular religious writer known for challenging traditional beliefs, died on Saturday.
Rachel Held Evans is survived by her husband and two young children.
Rachel Held Evans is survived by her husband and two young
/ Source: TODAY

Rachel Held Evans, a bestselling Christian writer, died from complications from the flu on Saturday at age 37. Her husband, Dan Evans, shared the sad news with the public on Held Evans' blog, which he had been updating with news of her medical condition since she was admitted to the hospital in April.

“I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake,” her husband wrote.

Evans was the author of several books, including 2018's "Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again," and mom to two small children, a 3-year-old boy and an almost 1-year-old baby girl.

Just a few weeks ago, the author posted about being in the hospital.

The popular Christian author was known for challenging the Evangelical establishment and exploring themes of faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt.

A native of Dayton, Tennessee, she often sparred with popular male Christian leaders such John Piper on subjects like the #MeToo movement. The self-described "doubt-filled believer" was a staunch support of LGBTQ inclusion in the Christian community and didn't shy away from tough topics such as racism and abuse in the church.

The death of this original voice is particularly difficult as she leaves behind two small children, who she sometimes posted about on social media.

"Sweet as she can be," Held Evans captioned a photo of her newborn daughter's tiny feet just less than a year ago.

On April 19, Dan Evans began posting medical updates on his wife's blog, revealing that she was in the hospital being treated for an infection. Held Evans was experiencing seizures, and subsequently put in a medically-induced coma. Held Evans experienced swelling of her brain, and never returned from a comatose state. As her condition worsened Thursday morning, doctors worked to save her but ultimately deemed her condition "not survivable," wrote Dan.

On Saturday, Held Evans' Twitter account was flooded with words of sympathy and messages of support for her family.

Her husband went on to say that the whole situation was "surreal" and that it felt like "I'm telling someone else's story."Held Evans' ideas and work will live on through her blog and books and through her family and followers.

"It it [sic] with a broken heart I post this: my sweet friend Rachel died this morning," author and pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber tweeted. "I will forever be grateful for her friendship and work and love. Thank you for your prayers."