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By Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Bre Payton, a writer for the conservative news site The Federalist and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and other media outlets, has died suddenly at the age of 26.

The Federalist and a friend, Morgan Murtaugh, confirmed Payton's death Friday in San Diego.

Murtaugh said Payton had been fighting swine flu and possibly meningitis. Murtaugh said she found Payton unconscious on Thursday morning.

In recent appearances on Fox News, Payton had condemned what she called "fake news" media coverage of President Donald Trump.

An obituary in The Federalist called Payton "joyful, hard-working, and compassionate." It said she had a deep Christian faith.

She joined the outlet in 2015 after graduating from Patrick Henry College with a degree in journalism.

In a tweet, Meghan McCain, daughter of late Sen. John McCain, called Payton "a wonderful, fearless, vibrant, intelligent young woman."