Australian TV star and former model Charlotte Dawson allegedly killed herself after receiving abuse from vicious trolls on Twitter just hours before she died.
She was found dead in her home in Sydney on Saturday February 22nd 2014. Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.
47-year-old Dawson, popularly known from Australia’s Next Top Model, had a history of depression.
In what is considered a suicide note, she tweeted ‘you win’ to her tormentors after taking prescription tablets with wine.
Daily Mail reports:
In 2012, she was admitted to a Sydney hospital after a suicide attempt following an ongoing tirade of abuse on Twitter.
She later made fighting bullying her personal mission, waging an anti-bullying media campaign on television and radio and in newspapers and magazines as well as her beloved Twitter.
Her efforts and high public profile on the issue were recognised by the National Rugby League, a major Australian football association, which last year made her an anti-bullying ambassador.
The NRL’s One-Community campaign is an extension of its zero-tolerance policy toward racial abuse in football.
Dawson revealed in her 2012 autobiography ‘Air Kiss & Tell’ that she was frequently visited by the ‘depression bogeyman’.
She had long graced the pages of women’s gossip magazines and scenes in reality TV shows. Her modeling career had taken her to Italy, Britain and Germany during the 1980s.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key tweeted he was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the news of her death.
The Sun-Herald newspaper in Sydney reported Sunday that her body was found only minutes before her luxury waterside apartment was due to be sold at auction.
Happy and playful: A photographer’s picture set from Thursday shows Charlotte smiling and playfully poking her tongue out at the camera outside the Woolloomooloo apartment she would be found dead in two days later.
‘In tears’: Australian actor Russell Crowe looked clearly distressed when he was pictured in Sydney after hearing the news of the death of his good friend.
The tragedy was discovered the day after the birthday of her former husband, Scott Miller, an Australian Olympic silver medal-winning swimmer who became addicted to the drug ice and accrued multiple convictions for illegal drug and firearm possession.
Dawson professed her enduring love for Miller and sadness at his fall from grace ahead of Australian ’60 Minutes’ broadcasting an exclusive interview with him on February 16.
Kate Carnell, chief executive of Beyond Blue, a not-for-profit organisation promoting depression awareness, criticised Twitter for failing to sign up to an Australian government complaint-handling program designed to remove hateful material from social media sites.
Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft signed up to the project last year.
‘There’s lots more work that people like Twitter need to do,’ Carnell told The Sun-Herald.
Fragile: Despite being in good spirits when photographed on February 12, Charlotte’s friends have said that the star was in ‘terrible shape’ of late.
In an interview with Channel 9’s 60 Minutes at the time, Charlotte said: ‘It just triggered that feeling of helplessness when the trolls got to me. They got the better of me and they won.’’
She also touched on the topic in her book, Air Kiss And Tell, which was released in October 2012.
However, her appearance on TV prompted even more abuse on Twitter, with some social media users writing comments such as: ‘please hang yourself promptly’ and ‘neck yourself you filthy s***.’
At the time, Charlotte also revealed she had received several death threats during the ordeal.
‘I’ve never had death threats of this ferocity. I’ve never had a campaign of this ferocity,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.
Recently Charlotte hinted in November that she was looking to step away from the spotlight after it was reported she was axed from Australia’s Next Top Model due to a cast ‘shake-up’.
Successful: Charlotte has had considerable success on Australian television following her career in modelling.
Model: Charlotte, pictured here in 2005, left her native New Zealand at the age of 16 to model in Europe and with Ford Models in New York.
She told the Herald Sun Confidential at the time: ‘I’m tired of the anxiety that comes with working in media, especially as a woman because you’re scrutinised daily and abused about the way you look.’
According to the Daily Telegraph, Charlotte took the producers’ decision to cut her from the show badly, but was looking forward to new ‘ventures.’
She said she intended to become an estate agent at Sydney’s Regency Road estate agents.
Foxtel Chief and Charlotte’s former boss Brian Walsh also released a statement on Saturday afternoon, saying that the entire staff at Foxtel were ‘devastated’ over Charlotte’s death.
‘This is tragic news and deeply sad. Everyone at Foxtel is devastated. Our sympathies are with Charlotte’s family and friends,’ he said.
Regular role: Charlotte was a judge on Australia’s Next Top model for six years.
Meanwhile, Russell Crowe, who is currently at home in Australia and is a neighbour of Charlotte’s in Woolloomooloo, reportedly broke down in tears when he was told of her death.
Not long after, the 49-year-old actor looked visibly distressed when he was pictured walking around the area with his sons, Charles and Tennyson.
On Saturday afternoon, Russell tweeted his sadness over Charlotte’s death, writing: ‘Charley D…Just don’t understand. There’s not enough kind souls as it is. Rest in peace.’