Heather Armstrong, the breakout star behind the web site Dooce, who was hailed because the queen of the so-called mommy bloggers for giving hundreds of thousands of readers intimate every day glimpses of her odyssey by way of parenthood and marriage, in addition to her harrowing struggles with melancholy, died on Tuesday at her house in Salt Lake Metropolis. She was 47.
Pete Ashdown, her longtime accomplice, who discovered her physique within the house, mentioned the trigger was suicide.
Ms. Armstrong, who was born Heather Brooke Hamilton, was a lapsed Mormon raised in Bartlett, Tenn., a suburb of Memphis, and later primarily based in Salt Lake Metropolis. She rose to prominence on the daybreak of the non-public weblog craze of the early 2000s; her baptism within the discipline got here after she graduated from Brigham Younger College in 1997 and moved to Los Angeles, the place she taught herself HTML code and took a job at a tech firm.
She began Dooce in 2001, christening it, in keeping with one model of the story, with the nickname she had earned after committing a typo writing the phrase “dude” in an AOL Prompt Messenger chat with mates.
Early on, she mined her experiences as a tech drone for materials — firing off tart salvos in regards to the absurdities of start-up tradition within the swelling dot-com bubble, publishing, say, bro-ish pronouncements overheard at an organization Christmas get together. (“Ruben, dude, you may’t stand on the desk. Or on the bar.”)
A 12 months later, her weblog candor bought her fired, an expertise that impressed a well-liked web phrase, “Dooced,” referring to individuals who discover themselves scanning job listings after posting ill-advised feedback on-line. The time period even discovered its manner onto “Jeopardy!”
She felt responsible in regards to the expertise. “I cried in my exit interview,” she recalled. “My boss, who served as the topic of a few of my extra vicious posts, sat throughout the desk from me unable to look me within the face, she was so damage. I had by no means felt like such a horrible human being, regardless that in my thoughts I assumed that I used to be simply being inventive and humorous.”
However that profession setback opened up huge alternatives for fortune and fame. In an period when numerous individuals, girls specifically, have been beginning private blogs — typically only for the pleasure of family and friends — Ms. Armstrong glimpsed industrial potentialities.
Because the running a blog increase approached its zenith in 2009, Ms. Armstrong was a weblog powerhouse, showing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and attracting some 8.5 million readers a month, in keeping with a 2019 article in Vox, whereas tapping a gusher of revenue off banner adverts, sponsored posts, books, talking charges and different sources. The information media christened her “the queen of the mommy bloggers.”
Alongside the best way, the six-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac in Salt Lake Metropolis that she shared along with her husband and enterprise accomplice on the time, Jon Armstrong, and her two kids functioned as a fishbowl for her cultishly devoted readers.
As famous in a 2011 profile by Lisa Belkin in The New York Occasions Journal, Ms. Armstrong was the lone blogger featured that 12 months on the Forbes listing of essentially the most influential girls in media; she was ranked No. 26, one slot behind Tina Brown of The Day by day Beast. The article quoted a gross sales consultant for Federated Media, the corporate that bought adverts on her website, who referred to as Ms. Armstrong “certainly one of our most profitable bloggers,” including, “Our most profitable bloggers can gross $1 million.”
As Ms. Armstrong mentioned the Vox interview, “I checked out myself as somebody who occurred to have the ability to talk about parenthood in a manner many ladies wished to have the ability to however have been afraid to.”
Nothing appeared off limits, as she regaled readers about “poop and spit-up,” Ms. Belkin wrote. “And abdomen viruses and washing-machine repairs. And residential design, and high-strung canines, and actuality tv, and sewer-line disasters, and chiropractor visits.”
However Ms. Armstrong didn’t draw back from thornier matters, together with her tangled breakup with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a 2017 publish detailing why she left the church, she recalled, with some horror, a weblog diatribe she wrote two days after the assaults of Sept. 11, 2001, evaluating Mormons, of their devotion to authority, to the Islamist terrorists who flew the jetliners into buildings.
“I’m not notably proud about it,” she added. “I’d had a number of or a number of martinis once I wrote it, however my dad was only a tiny bit upset and instructed me that I used to be ‘a disgusting creature who had succumbed to the darkish facet.’”
The matters grew darker nonetheless. In 2009, Ms. Armstrong chronicled her wrestle with postpartum depression, after the beginning of her first youngster, in a best-selling memoir titled, “It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Child, a Breakdown, and a A lot Wanted Margarita.”
Few readers have been prepared, nonetheless, when she and her husband, who additionally had a weblog, broke the information in 2012 that they have been splitting. The breakup of the household outraged many Dooce loyalists, who had come to cherish her portrayal of a charmed marriage and household life. It additionally appeared to embolden the nameless critics on web boards who had lengthy spewed hateful resentment over her seemingly idyllic life and monetary success.
Feeling stress from all sides, she scaled again her running a blog efforts and put extra give attention to her psychological well being.
In 2019, she printed “The Valedictorian of Being Dead,” a haunting recollection of her many tried therapies for melancholy, together with one through which she was repeatedly given propofol (which she referred to as “the Michael Jackson drug”) to induce a coma. “I felt implausible!” she wrote. “Once you need to be lifeless, there’s nothing fairly like being lifeless.”
Along with Mr. Ashdown, her survivors embody her two kids.
Ms. Armstrong’s efforts to search out peace continued. In a publish on Dooce final month, she recounted her flip to sobriety lately, writing that “22 years of agony I had numbed with alcohol had come alive and remodeled itself into an virtually alien life kind.”
Evaluating the expertise to shock from electrocution, she wrote, “I used to be compelled to stare this wild-eyed savage straight within the face, and now I go searching and assume, ‘Oh, this. That is simply life. All of that is only a bodily response to psychological ache.’”
“Sobriety was not some thriller I needed to resolve,” she added. “It was merely taking a look at all my wounds and studying how you can dwell with them.”
If you’re having ideas of suicide, name or textual content 988 to achieve the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a listing of further assets.
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