Heather Armstrong, best known to readers as “Dooce,” has died. She was 47.
The solemn news was shared on Armstrong’s official Instagram account on Monday, alongside a joyful photo of the late media personality.
“Heather Brooke Hamilton aka Heather B. Armstrong aka dooce aka love of my life. July 19, 1975 – May 9, 2023. ‘It takes an ocean not to break,'” the heartbreaking message read. “Hold your loved ones close and love everyone else.”
According to a statement given to The Associated Press from Armstrong’s boyfriend of nearly six years, Pete Ashdown, Armstrong died by suicide at the couple’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they lived with Armstrong’s children.
Ashdown, a former U.S. senate candidate, also told the outlet that Armstrong had been sober for the past 18 months but recently suffered a relapse. He did not go into further detail or provide any information on plans for a memorial service.
Armstrong had two kids with her ex-husband, Jon Armstrong, whom she divorced in 2012: Leta, 19, and Marlo, 13.
Armstrong launched her blog, “Dooce,” in 2001, discussing the ups and downs of parenting, pregnancy, marriage, and her battles with depression and alcoholism. As one of the first mommy bloggers to candidly discuss their mental health, she soon rose to even greater popularity and became known as “The Queen of Mommy Blogging.”
Armstrong turned Dooce into a very successful career, later appearing on talk shows like Oprah, the Today show, and You & Me in the Morning, as well as in the Forbes list of most influential women in media.
She also authored four books–The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live; Dear Daughter: The Best of the Dear Leta Letters; It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita; and Things I Learned About My Dad in Therapy Essays–that detailed her life, journey as a parent, and experience with experimental treatment for depression.
The clinical trial she enrolled in and later wrote about intended to see if depression could be treated by putting patients into chemically-induced comas. “I was feeling like life was not meant to be lived,” Armstrong told Vox about the treatment in 2019. “When you are that desperate, you will try anything. I thought my kids deserved to have a happy, healthy mother, and I needed to know that I had tried all options to be that for them.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health, suicide or substance use crisis or emotional distress, reach out 24/7 to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) by dialing or texting 988 or using chat services at suicidepreventionlifeline.org to connect to a trained crisis counselor. You can also get crisis text support via the Crisis Text Line by texting NAMI to 741741.