Heather Armstrong, known as the “queen of the mommy bloggers,” died this week at age 47.
A post on Armstrong’s Instagram page, @Dooce, revealed that she died on May 9. Her boyfriend told the Associated Press that she died by suicide and he found her Tuesday night at their Salt Lake City home.
Armstrong began her blog, Dooce, in 2001 and built it into a lucrative career, writing about her children, relationships and battles with depression and alcoholism. She also posted to Instagram, where she had more than 57,000 followers and published her memoir in 2009, “It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita.”
That same year, Armstrong appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was on the Forbes list of the most influential women in media. The magazine reported at the time that Dooce.com's advertisers included McDonald's, Weight Watchers, Disney and AT&T.
Members of the PR, creative and media industries are paying respect to Armstrong. Cindy Gallop, a former ad executive and founder of Make Love Not Porn, said that calling Armstrong “the original mommy blogger” doesn't remotely do her justice.
“She was a true original, one of the pioneers of the digital age in her willingness to live her life out loud online with raw honesty and power at the dawn of social media, and she inspired so many other women to say the quiet part out loud about motherhood and about their lives in general,” Gallop said. “An exceptional talent gone far too soon.”
Scott Monty, who handles leadership and communications strategy for AccuWeather, said that while he never met Armstrong, he has worked with many women who were inspired by her groundbreaking work.
“Her output was at turns raw, honest, funny and painful, touching a whole generation of bloggers at a critical time in the early days of social media,” said Monty.
Brendan Lewis, Oatly’s EVP of global comms and public affairs, tweeted that Armstrong was “required reading, especially back in the day when the internet and blogging was a much more innocent and friendly place.”
Here’s how journalists reacted to the news of Armstrong’s death.
It feels weird that in a life marked with opinions by strangers on the internet, I become a stranger on the internet with an opinion on someone's life, but Heather Armstrong taught me how to be a writer and a difficult real and full person online https://t.co/xnkwfUcAr1— Lyz Lenz (@lyzl) May 10, 2023
I wrote something about Heather Armstrong (#Dooce), whose work had a profound affect on me as a reader and a mother: https://t.co/yw80FYWRRi— Elizabeth Angell (@ElizabethAngell) May 11, 2023
Calling Dooce a mommy blogger was always an inadequate description of her breadth, her style and her early influence on blogging. I know I was influenced by her voice early on, particularly how it felt like a direct conversation. https://t.co/TAlh9XZrZv— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) May 10, 2023
Heather aka Dooce was a groundbreaker.— Yashar Ali (@yashar) May 10, 2023
It’s hard to explain in a tweet the impact she had.
She was extraordinary.
On a personal note, she was very kind to me. https://t.co/LzQWGV3FvJ https://t.co/SDaPMwgZAN
Dooce leaves behind two children, 19-year-old Leta and 13-year-old Marlo.