The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. 

‘Queen of the mommy bloggers’ Heather Armstrong dies aged 47

The mommy blogger rose to internet fame with popular blog, ‘Dooce’

Meredith Clark
New York
Thursday 11 May 2023 09:59 BST
John Fetterman returns to Senate after six-week hospitalisation for depression

Heather Brooke Armstrong, the pioneering “mommy blogger” who gained popularity with her website Dooce, has died aged 47.

Her boyfriend, Pete Ashdown, confirmed to The Associated Press that she died by suicide Tuesday night but no cause of death was revealed. He said she was sober for 18 months but had recently relapsed.

A post on her Instagram account appeared to confirm her passing on 9 May. “Heather Brooke Hamilton aka Heather B Armstrong aka dooce aka love of my life. July 19, 1975 - May 9, 2023,” the caption read. “‘It takes an ocean not to break.’ Hold your loved ones close and love everyone else.”

Armstrong – who lived in Salt Lake City, Utah – rose to internet fame in the early 2000s with her popular blog, The mother of two was soon hailed as the “queen of mommy bloggers” for writing candidly about parenthood and her struggles with alcoholism and depression.

She founded her blog in 2001, after being fired from her job as a web designer and graphic artist for writing about her company and co-workers. Armstrong, who was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, soon amassed a cult following for her witty and unapologetic depiction of depression and why she left the Mormon church.

By 2009, had reached 8.5 million monthly readers. In 2011, she made between $30,000 to $50,000 per month from web advertisements, according to a New York Times profile on Armstrong titled, “Queen of Mommy Bloggers”.

That same year, she became the only blogger on Forbes list of the Most Influential Women in Media at number 26. She went on to author many books, including Dear Daughter and It Sucked and then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita.

Despite her growing fame, Armstrong remained open about her struggles with mental health and her relationship. In 2012, she and her husband Jon Armstrong announced they were divorcing. The couple share two children: Leta Elise, born 2004, and Marlo Iris, born 2009.

In a 2019 interview withVox, Armstrong detailed the lengths she went in order to treat her depression. She had enrolled herself in a clinical trial at the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, where she was put in a chemically induced coma for 15 minutes at a time for 10 sessions. The experience was the subject of her 2019 book, titled, The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live.

She was also open about her battle with sobriety. Her final blog entry, dated 6 April 2023, read: “On October 8th, 2021 I celebrated six months of sobriety by myself on the floor next to my bed feeling as if I were a wounded animal who wanted to be left alone to die.”

“There was no one in my life who could possibly comprehend how symbolic a victory it was for me, albeit it one fraught with tears and sobbing so violent that at one point I thought my body would split in two. The grief submerged me in tidal waves of pain. For a few hours I found it hard to breathe.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to to find a helpline near you.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in