Vegan raw food influencer ‘dies of starvation and exhaustion’

Influencer’s mother attributes daughter’s death to ‘cholera-like infection’

Peony Hirwani
Friday 04 August 2023 05:08 BST
Vegan raw food influencer Zhanna D’art shares summer soup recipe

Vegan raw food influencer Zhanna D’art has died at the age of 39.

Friends and family of the Russian food influencer, whose real name was Zhanna Samsonova, were quoted as saying by Newsflash that she “died of starvation and exhaustion” after subsisting exclusively on a “completely raw vegan diet” in Malaysia.

For the past four years, Ms Samsonova ate “raw” vegan food, with just “fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies and juices”, her mother said.

The influencer’s mother attributed her daughter’s death to a “cholera-like infection”.

The official cause for Ms Samsonova’s death has not yet been revealed. The influencer was on a tour of southeast Asia when she died in Malaysia on 21 July, said local media reports.

One of Ms Samsonova’s friends revealed that the influencer “looked exhausted, with swollen legs oozing lymph” when she met her in Sri Lanka a few months ago.

“They sent her home to seek treatment. However, she ran away again. When I saw her in Phuket, I was horrified,” said the friend, who was also Ms Samsonova’s neighbour.

“I lived one floor above her and every day I feared finding her lifeless body in the morning. I convinced her to seek treatment, but she didn’t make it,” said the friend, who was not identified.

Before her death, Ms Samsonova had been off social media for about seven weeks.

Her last Instagram post contains a video of the Durian fruit.

“It’s that fabulous time of year again – Durian Season in Thailand!” she wrote in the caption.

“Wake Up And Smell the Durian! For all you durian lovers out there, isn’t it just the best? And for those who haven’t yet experienced the joy of durian, you’re in for a wild ride!”

According to New York Post, Ms Samsonova posted in an Instagram story two weeks before her death on 21 July.

“Life is meaningless, but worth living, provided you recognize it’s meaningless,” she reportedly wrote.

Ms Samsonova had a little over 16,000 followers on Instagram and over 20m views on TikTok.

There have been instances in the past of other people starving to death from an extreme raw foods diet.

Last year, a vegan mother was sentenced to life imprisonment for the malnutrition death of her 18-month-old son who was fed a diet of raw fruits and vegetables.

Sheila O’Leary was convicted by a Florida jury in June 2022 of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, child abuse and two counts of child neglect.

Prosecutors said her son Ezra was severely malnourished and weighed just 17 pounds when he died in September 2019.

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