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Heather Armstrong: ‘Queen of Mommy Blogging’ Dead at 47

Heather Armstrong, who found success in the 2000s documenting the ups and downs of motherhood on her blogging website Dooce, has died at the age of 47.

Her boyfriend Pete Ashdown told the Associated Press (AP) he had found her on Tuesday night in their Utah home.

The “queen of mommy blogging” wrote frequently about her children, relationships and personal struggles.

At the height of its popularity, her Dooce website received more than eight million visitors a month, reports Vox.

That was in 2009 – the same year Ms Armstrong was named in Forbes’ annual list of the 30 most influential women in media.

Ms Armstrong founded Dooce in the early 2000s as a place to discuss work, sex and leaving the Mormon church.

The site’s name came from an inside joke about how she was unable to spell out the word “dude” quickly in online chats, according to the AP and New York Times.

In 2002, Ms Armstrong was fired from her job as a web designer in Los Angeles after the blog – in which she gave colleagues nicknames like That One Co-worker Who Manages to Say Something Stupid Every Time He Opens His Mouth – was found to be hers.

Her firing, and the reason for it, ignited a public debate about privacy – and boosted traffic to her blog.

The site restarted six months later as a different kind of blog after she became pregnant. Embracing honesty in her writing, Ms Armstrong detailed her children’s temper tantrums, her mental health challenges, and her struggles with alcoholism and postpartum depression.

According to an estimate quoted in the Wall Street Journal, by 2009, the blog may have generated $40,000 (£32,000) a month in revenue from paid advertising.

Ms Armstrong turned her success into a strong social media presence and three books, including the 2009 memoir It Sucked and then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita.

According to the book, she suffered chronic depression throughout her life and it was not treated until she got to college.

A caption on a Dooce Instagram page on Wednesday announcing her death said: “Hold your loved ones close and love everyone else.”

Mr Ashdown told the AP that his partner had been sober for more than 18 months but had recently had a relapse. He said she had taken her own life.

Ms Armstrong is survived by her ex-husband Jon; her daughters Leta, 19 and Marlo, 14; as well as Mr Ashdown and his three children from a previous marriage.

Source: BBC