Dear friends, I am heartbroken to tell you that my friend and client, author Rachel Held Evans, died early this morning. She was surrounded by friends and family, and we held her and sang to her as she took her last breaths.

Please see my previous post for ways you can help the family right now, including the GoFundMe page.

Here is the post from Rachel’s husband Dan this morning:

May 4th, 2019 Update

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.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Susan on May 14, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    Rachel, I am so sorry.

  2. Beth K. Vogt on May 5, 2019 at 8:02 PM

    Rachelle: I continue to return to the word “grieving.” Grieving … and grieving for those, like you, whose hearts have been broken by this loss of such a beautiful heart and soul.

  3. Ruth Douthitt on May 5, 2019 at 7:53 AM

    Tragic news, indeed. She was so young. Praying for you during this difficult time. And praying for the family.

  4. Melissa Henderson on May 4, 2019 at 5:51 PM

    Praying. This is such sad news.

  5. Kate Davis on May 4, 2019 at 11:59 AM

    I’m so sorry for your loss. 💔🙏

  6. Angie Mizzell on May 4, 2019 at 11:59 AM

    Rachelle, I’m heartbroken for her family, for you, and for everyone who knew her. Such a devastating loss. Sending my love and prayers to all.

    • Christina Myerly on May 4, 2019 at 12:37 PM

      I am praying for her family and friends and all she’s impacted. I’m sorry to hear this.