“Chicago Fire” Actress Dies Suddenly at 49

Celebrity deaths can be really emotional events for fans. There’s something devastating about seeing a character you know from the screen, as larger than life, suddenly lost. When you’re a fan of a show, you’re shockingly reminded that there’s a real person playing that character you love so much.

Recently, fans of the hit NBC series Chicago Fire had to deal with just this situation when DuShon Monique Brown died suddenly. Brown is best known for playing the character Connie on Chicago Fire. Connie was the assistant to Chief Boden, but also like a mother figure on the show, always keeping the firefighters and other characters in line.

She managed to do this even when the show’s storyline ventured into the many tense, dramatic situations the characters faced as they worked to keep the people of Chicago safe. Fans loved Brown’s portrayal of Connie for bringing a genuine, refreshing attitude to the role. She could manage to get a laugh in the most tense situations, while still expressing the show’s drama.

Brown was just 49 when she passed away on March 23. It’s shocking to lose someone so talented at such a young age! We know that she passed away at Franciscan St. James Health Olympia Fields, Chicago, after checking herself into the hospital earlier that week because of chest pains. The official cause of death hasn’t been released yet, however.

One of the remarkable things about Brown’s story and her acting on Chicago Fire is that she was a dyed-in-the-wool Chicagoan. Brown had a master’s degree in counseling and a background in social work, and she actually worked as a school counselor in Chicago when she wasn’t involved with the show. Brown was deeply connected to the city where she lived and died — the same city celebrated in Chicago Fire.

As you might expect with the death of someone as beloved as Brown, the outpouring of support from fans was intense. On the show’s Facebook page, one fan wrote “May she rest in peace. She will be greatly missed, by not only the cast/crew. But her fans as well. The show won’t be the same without Connie.”

Another reminded people of Brown’s work in the community: “She was so awesome. Fun fact, when she wasn’t doing this, she was a teacher in the Chicago Public School system. I am sure she will be missed by her students also.”

Some fans, however, wondered why it took the show’s directors so long to acknowledge Brown’s passing. One Facebook user asked on March 29 “Still no words of sympathy for Dushon’s family? Come on. Are you all that cold?” The show did share a memorial post for Brown the very next day, however.

Celebrity gossip can be really brutal. In a time when it seems like officials are still trying to figure out what caused Brown’s death, I can understand why the producers wanted to give family and supporters some time to grieve before responding and making the news public. Lots of fans are wondering how the show’s story will deal with Connie’s absence. Since a season’s shows are filmed ahead of time, it might be a while — even next season — before we find out.

Though the official cause of Brown’s death hasn’t been released yet, TMZ is calling it a heart attack, based on the evidence. For more on what we know about Brown’s story, make sure to watch the video below. We’re so sorry to have lost this talented, generous person! Were you a fan?