Heather Armstrong, who blogged struggles with motherhood, depression on Dooce, dies by suicide at 47

ByKatie Kindelan ABCNews logo
Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Heather Armstrong, one of the first bloggers to document the ups and downs of motherhood, has died at the age of 47.

Armstrong, known to her fans by the name of her website, Dooce.com, died by suicide, according to her partner, Pete Ashdown.

"Heather B. Hamilton (Armstrong) was a brilliant, funny, compassionate writer who struggled with mental-health and alcoholism. She saved many lives through her authorship on depression, but in the end could not save herself," Ashdown told ABC News in a statement. "She was a loving companion and mother who was always open for a new adventure or concert."

Ashdown continued, "Heather believed that ending her life was wrong, but in the end, her judgment was clouded by alcohol. She was loved and will be deeply missed."

Ashdown announced Armstrong's death Wednesday with a post on the blogger's Instagram page.

He told The Associated Press that he found Armstrong Tuesday night at their Salt Lake City home.

Armstrong started her blog in 2001, at the advent of blogging, and wrote about her life raising her two children, Marlo and Leta.

Armstrong told "Good Morning America" in 2009 that she chose to chronicle "the mundane and boring details of the life we all live."

She wrote about potty training and play dates, but also about postpartum depression, friendships and religion.

"I have no problem saying what some people are afraid to say," Armstrong said. "Like motherhood is really, really difficult. Sometimes it's really unpleasant and sometimes you turn around and you're like, 'What did I do to my life?' A lot of the women that read my website want to be able to say that and need and are feeling that and want someone to talk to just to work through it."

Armstrong didn't shy away from writing about her own serious battle with depression, which she told "GMA" in 2009 was an "ongoing battle" that she'd deal with for her entire life.

She wrote about her brief stay in a mental hospital for postpartum depression, and credited her blog audience with helping her get through that period of her life.

"Blogging about it saved my life," Armstrong said. "I really think that the support I got from all those amazing readers was part of the reason I decided to check into the hospital, and that hospital stay saved my life."

Armstrong and her first husband, Jon, the father of her two children, split in 2012, an experience she also chronicled on her blog. She began using the last name Hamilton following her divorce.

At the time of her death, Armstrong lived with Ashdown and her children, 19-year-old Leta and 13-year-old Marlo, according to the AP.

Armstrong, the author of four books, last published a blog entry on Dooce.com on April 6. She wrote at the time about being 18 months sober.

On Instagram, the announcement of Armstrong's death was met Wednesday by hundreds of comments from her longtime readers thanking her for the words she had shared.

"Dooce was the first blog I ever read and got hooked on. Watching Leta and then Marlo grow and Heathers journey has been a privilege," one commenter wrote.

"My heart can't take this......@dooce was my first intro to masterful blogging. Her words made me want to express myself authentically....no more hiding," wrote another commenter.

"I've followed Dooce since it's inception...all of her struggles, her love letters to Leta... Absolutely heartbreaking. RIP @dooce - may you find your peace at long last," another commenter reflected.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.