Pioneering Mommy Blogger Heather Armstrong Has Died at Age 47


May 10 2023, Published 2:48 p.m. ET

Pioneering mommy blogger Heather Armstrong, who built a following with a blog called Dooce that she started in 2001, has died at age 47.

Heather, who had been candid about her struggles with depression and alcoholism over the years, leaves behind two daughters.

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What was 'Dooce' blogger Heather Armstrong's cause of death?

Heather's boyfriend, Pete Ashdown, told the Associated Press that Heather died by suicide on May 9, 2023, in their Salt Lake City home. He said Heather had recently relapsed after having been sober for more than 18 months.

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A post on Heather's Instagram on May 10, 2023, reads:

"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.' Hold your loved ones close and love everyone else."

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An ex-Mormon, Heather moved to Los Angeles after graduating from Brigham Young University and learned how to code during the dot-com boom. While working for start-ups, she started her website Dooce in the early days of blogging. She would talk about her job and her co-workers on there, which eventually led to her firing. Per Vox, "dooce" even became known online as a term used to describe getting fired from your job over something you did online.

She got married and moved to Salt Lake City where she began growing her family. She also continued writing on Dooce, taking a humorous, no-filter approach to examining motherhood. She wrote about everything from the mundane (buying a new dishwasher) to the much more serious (postpartum depression).

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As Vox noted in their 2019 profile of the blogger-author, Heather garnered a huge following of fellow moms at a time when the internet was a place for people to turn to when they couldn't find it in the media.

But with the loyal following, of course, came the trolls and the hate — particularly after she began monetizing her blog with ads. The trolling got so bad for Heather that she later admitted her divorce from her husband Jon was partially fueled by his being unable to understand how she couldn't just shake off the torrent of hate.

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As blogging fell to the wayside with the rise of social media and influencer culture, Heather had a hard time coming to terms with the new era of how to share your life on the internet — the perfectly curated moments and all — but she kept up with it in the ways she felt comfortable doing.

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Heather left Dooce behind for a while starting in 2015 and tried other pursuits, including a job at an animal welfare nonprofit. She had also gotten divorced a couple years prior. Her severe depression led her to experimental therapy at the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. The treatment involved putting her in a medically induced coma for 15 minutes at a time over the course of 10 treatments. She wrote a book about how the treatment helped her, called The Valedictorian of Being Dead.

Heather, who returned to blogging in 2017, told Vox in 2019 of her plans to continue focusing her work on mental health.

She leaves behind two daughters: Leta, who was born in 2004, and Marlo, who was born in 2009.

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call, text, or message the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Dial or text 988, call 1-800-273-8255, or chat via their website.

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