Alex Okrent, Obama campaign staffer dies in Chicago
Alex Okrent, an Obama campaign staffer, collapsed on Friday morning at President Barack Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building at 130 E. Randolph Street. Okrent was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Okrent had traveled around the country and to the political heights with President Barack Obama since volunteering for his U.S. Senate primary race in 2004, but was eyeing this fall’s presidential election as the end. The 29-year-old devoted nearly a decade to the president, driving through battleground states, and putting long hours in the Obama campaign’s paid media division, but was ready for something less taxing. “He was a loving, passionate, bright young man, who should have had a long, bright future,” said his father Mike Okrent. “He looked to November and said ‘What am I going to do next?’ He said, ‘This is OK for a young man, but it takes a lot.’”
Officals said the president called Okrent’s family to offer condolences on Friday. Before volunteering for Obama, Okrent was already involved in political activism. In 2002, while attending an anti-war protest in Wahsington, D.C., the then 19-year-old Wesleyan University student told The Chigaco Tribune, “The government is committing atrocities all over the world, and they say they’re doing it in our interest. I’m trying to make my voice heard that I don’t want people killed in my name.” Lodro Rinzler, Okrent’s friend who met him in a politics class in college, said, “You could bring up any topic with him – music, technology – and not only would he know what you were talking about, but he would have insights on it. He devoured information, absolutely devoured it and processed it.” Further autopsy tests are pending for Alex Okrent.