The 25 Most Shocking Reality TV Deaths Of The Past 10 Years

Reality TV is full of secrets and scandals and, as we’ve learned researching for this article, a number of deaths as well. While some of these deaths were totally accidental or completely natural, there are a number of others that were suicides. It seems as though there are a lot of people who starred on various reality TV shows that were pretty depressed and felt especially helpless. We decided to take a look at how many reality TV stars – current and former – have died and see which deaths were the most shocking. We were definitely overwhelmed by the number of deaths and the shocking nature of each. Here are the 25 most shocking reality TV deaths of the past 10 years!

25. Michael Johns

Appeared On: American Idol Season 7, 2008

Died: August 1, 2014

Cause of Death: This American Idol finalist died suddenly in the summer of 2014. According to reports, Michael Johns had twisted his ankle and had gone to see a doctor because of the excessive swelling. The next day, the former reality TV star was found dead by a friend. Reports indicate that Johns had died from a blood clot, which developed in his sprained ankle.

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

24. Josh Marks

Appeared On: Masterchef

Died: October 11, 2013

Cause of Death: Josh Marks – the runner-up on MasterChef – committed suicide. After he was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head. A couple of his family members and an acquaintance told police that the reality TV star had suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A few months before his death, Marks had been arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer. At the time of his arrest, he claimed that Gordon Ramsay – the judge on MasterChef – had possessed his body and turned him into God.

23. Ryan Jenkins

Appeared On: Megan Wants a Millionaire

Died: August 23, 2009

Cause of Death: Many might not remember the VH1 reality series Megan Wants a Millionaire, and that is because of Ryan Jenkins. Jenkins came in third place on the reality series, and went on to marry swimsuit model Jasmine Fiore, who died in August 2009 and her body was found in a dumpster. A search warrant was put out for Jenkins in connection to her murder and three days later, the search ended when Jenkins was found dead of an apparent suicide by hanging. The next day, VH1 officially cancelled Megan Wants a Millionaire and announced that the third season of I Love Money, on which Jenkins was supposed to appear, also would not air.

VH1

22. Lex McAllister

Appeared On: Bachelor Season 14, 2010

Died: February 16, 2016

Cause of Death: Bachelor Nation lost one of its alum in February 16, 2016 with the death of Lex McAllister. Alexa “Lex” McAllister appeared on Jake Pavelka’s season in 2010 and passed away on February 16, 2016 at the age of 31 in what was ruled as a drug overdose. Her tragic death was officially ruled as a suicide by “acute intoxication by the combined effects of amlodipine and acetaminophen in the manner of suicide.” When 911 first answered the call, she was thought to be in stable condition, unfortunately her body shut down and her family made the decision to withdraw life support. Pavelka took to his Twitter to share his condolences, writing, “I’m so sad to hear about Alexa. Such a beautiful girl. My heart breaks for her family. Covering them in prayer during this rough time.”

Source: Us Magazine

21. Gerald Babin

Appeared On: Koh-Lanta

Died: March 22, 2013

Cause of Death: The death of Koh-Lanta contestant Gerald Babin shocked many. Babin passed away on March 22, 2013 during the first day of filming in Cambodia on the Survivor-inspired French reality series. Following the first two challenges of the morning, the 25-year-old collapsed in the sand and complained of cramps. He was treated at a local infirmary before being transferred by airlift to a hospital, but suffered a series of cardiac arrests during the transfer. The autopsy listed his cause of death as “heart failure in dilated cardiomyopathy,” indicating an undetected pre-existing condition, even though contestants had undergone rigorous testing before being cast. The season was cancelled and prosecutors opened up a manslaughter investigation after allegations that his treatment had been delayed so as not to interfere with filming and he was transported to an infirmary and not to a hospital because it was “too costly.” The show’s longtime staff physician, Thierry Costa, committed suicide April 1 in his hotel room following the allegations, saying that he could no longer live after his name had been “sullied” in the media. In his suicide note, Costa said the accusations were false and that he had treated Babin “as a patient and not as a contestant.”

Business Insider

20. Phil Harris

Appeared On: Deadliest Catch

Died: February 9, 2010

Cause of Death: Phil Harris died during the sixth season of Deadliest Catch after he suffered a massive stroke. Doctors initially put the reality TV star in an induced coma to reduce intracranial pressure and swelling and, when he awoke from the coma, he showed signs of improvement; however, he died shortly after of an intracranial hemorrhage.

19. Ashley “AJ” Jewell

Appeared On: Real Housewives Of Atlanta

Died: October 3, 2009

Cause of Death: Ashley “AJ” Jewell – the ex-fiancé of Kandi Burruss who stars on Real Housewives of Atlanta – died after he suffered head injuries during a fight outside the strip club where he works. He reportedly worked at the club and had gotten involved in a violent altercation and received a severe blow to the head, which ended up killing him.

18. Blake Painter

Appeared On: Deadliest Catch

Died: May 25, 2018

Cause of Death: Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch lost another one of its own in May 2018 with the death of Blake Painter. Painter, who had appeared on the series as the captain of the F/V Maverick from 2006 to 2007, was only 38, when he was found dead inside his Oregon home. He is believed to have died of a drug overdose after there were multiple forms of drugs, including what police believe to be heroin and meth, located near his body when he was pronounced dead.

Discovery

17. Michael Nance

Appeared On: The Bachelorette, Season Eight – 2012

Died: May 30, 2017

Cause of Death: Unfortunately, Bachelor Nation has lost a few of its alum including Michael Nance who competed for Emily Maynard’s love on season eight of The Bachelorette. The 31-year old, who was known as “Music Mike” on the show, tragically passed from “multiple drug toxicity” in Austin, Texas and his death was ruled an accident. According to the report, heroin, cocaine, Clonazepam (a sedative) and Gabapentin (an anticonvulsant) were all found in his system. The report also stated that Nance previously struggled with opiate abuse and anxiety and was sober for two years before he appeared on The Bachelorette.

Source: ABC / Craig Sjodin

16. Angela “Big Ang” Raiola

Appeared On: Mob Wives

Died: February 18, 2016

Cause of Death: The death of Mob Wives star Angela “Big Ang” Raiola at 55 was extremely tragic. Raiola was first diagnosed with throat cancer in March 2015 and after two surgeries was thought to be cancer free. A few months later she discovered the cancer had spread and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and brain cancer, and was terminal.

Photo by Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com/REX/Shutterstock

15. Julien Hug

Appeared On: Jillian Harris’ Season of The Bachelorette

Died: November 2010

Cause of Death: This former Bachelorette contestant took his own life. Julien Hug was found dead with a gunshot wound in his car with a suicide note, explaining that he had been suffering from severe depression and didn’t see any way out except for suicide. His body was found in the Pinyon Pines area off Highway 74 in Riverside County, which is about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

14. Eric Hill

Appeared On: Andi Dorfman’s Season of The Bachelorette

Died: April 23, 2014

Cause of Death: This Bachelorette contestant died after being seriously injured in a paragliding accident after his parachute collapsed. At the time of his death, Eric Hill was in the process of trying to travel to every country in the world in fewer than 1,200 days. He had taken time off from this mission to film The Bachelorette with Andi Dorfman as the lead. Hill had already been voted off the show at the time of his death.

13. Joel Taylor

Appeared On: Storm Chasers

Died: January 23, 2018

Cause of Death: Discovery Channel unfortunately lost a couple of its former stars in 2018, including Storm Chasers alum Joel Taylor. Taylor was only 38 years old when he died on January 23, 2018 while aboard a cruise ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico. An autopsy report revealed that Taylor had died due to a fatal mix of drugs in his system as MDMA, Zolpidem and MDA were all found in his system at the time of his death.

ET Canada

12. Erin Storm

Appeared On: Bachelor, Season 12 2008

Died: March 21, 2016

Cause of Death: Former Bachelor contestant Erin Storm passed away on March 21, 2016 at 41 years old following a plane crash. Storm died after an Airborne XT-912 light-sport, weight-shift control plane that she was piloting crashed shortly after taking off from Hawthorne Municipal Airport. Storm was working as a pilot for Pacific Blue Air at the time of the crash that caused her death and, although she was eliminated during week three of Grant’s season, he has nothing but fond memories of the beautiful blonde. “Somehow you knew from the first minute of being with her that Erin could pretty much go and do anything. On my season her occupation was listed as hot dog vendor.. which surprised me a bit. From talking to her, it soon became clear she was a smart, entrepreneurial cookie,” he said following her passing.

Source: ABC

11. Mark and Debby Constantino

Appeared On: Ghost Adventures

Died: September 22, 2015

Cause of Death: The deaths of Mark and Debby Constantino from Travel Channel’s paranormal series Ghost Adventures shocked the world in the fall of 2015. The couple, along with one other person were all found dead in a murder-suicide in Nevada. A woman called police to say she found her roommate dead while her other roommate Debby Constantino was missing. Police then responded to another call where shots were fired at them as they approached, and during negotiations it was discovered the shooter was in fact Debby’s estranged husband Mark Constantino and he told police, “Give me 15 minutes to gather my thoughts or I’ll kill her.” After unsuccessful negotiations, police forced their way into the apartment where they found both Mark and Debby dead.

Source: Facebook

10. Cristy Caserta

Appeared On: Bachelor, Season 15 2011

Died: October 4, 2018

Cause of Death: Cristy Caserta, who appeared on season 15 of The Bachelor in 2011, passed away in October 2018 at only 38 years old. Caserta was attending classes in Sunrise, Florida when she suffered a seizure while in class and was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her autopsy report later revealed that she died from an enlarged heart and an overactive thyroid.

ABC

9. Shain Gandee

Appeared On: Buckwild

Died: April 1, 2013

Cause of Death: Shain Gandee – star of MTV’s Buckwild – died of carbon monoxide poison along with two other men after the SUV they were in became partially submerged in deep mud. The three men had been off-roading when the reality TV star’s 1984 Bronco stalled. The SUV’s exhaust pipe was submerged in the mud, which caused the gas to leak back into the car. Gandee’s death was ruled an accident.

8. Joey Kovar

Appeared On: MTV’s The Real World: Hollywood

Died: August 17, 2012

Cause of Death: This star of MTV ‘s The Real World: Hollywood was found dead. While law enforcement sources initially thought the cause of death to be a mix of cocaine, Viagra and alcohol, the County Medical Examiner’s office determined that Joey Kovar died due to “opiate intoxication.” The former reality star had been open about his struggles with drugs. In 2010, Kovar went on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew to seek treatment for cocaine and ecstasy addiction.

7. Ryan Knight

Appeared On: Real World: New Orleans and The Challenge

Died: November 27, 2014

Cause of Death: Reality TV fans were shocked when it was revealed that MTV star Ryan Knight, whose larger than life personality made him an instant hit on Real World: New Orleans and three seasons of The Challenge, died on Thanksgiving morning in 2014 at 29 years old. Knight, who opened up about his substance abuse and being addicted to pain killers after a severe injury left him unable to play hockey and cost him his athletic scholarship to Arizona State University, died after a night of hard partying. Knight was found unresponsive after choking on his own vomit, and the final autopsy report has ruled his death an accidental overdose caused by a lethal mix of several drugs and alcohol. According to the Kenosha County medical examiner, Knight had a high level of alcohol in his system as well as drugs including methadone, tramadol (a pain killer), cocaine and Xanax.

MTV

6. Valerie Fairman

Appeared On: 16 and Pregnant

Died: December 21, 2016

Cause of Death: Valerie Fairman – who had appeared on MTV’s 16 and Pregnant’s second season – was only 23 when she passed away. Fairman seemed to have died after an apparent overdose after she was found unresponsive in a bathroom in her friend’s house. The young reality star’s life seemed to have spiralled out of control after the spotlight from the series faded away. In 2015, Fairman made headlines when she was arrested on charges of prostitution and in April of 2016 she was sentenced to two years parole due to her previous arrests. Shortly before her death she ran into trouble with the law on December 15 where she was arrested in Pennsylvania for resisting arrest and giving false ID to police.

Source: MTV

5. Gia Allemand

Appeared On: Jake Pavelka’s Season of The Bachelor, Bachelor Pad

Died: August 14, 2013

Cause of Death: Gia Allemand – a contestant on The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love and Bachelor Pad – took her own life after her boyfriend, Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Pelicans, told her he didn’t love her anymore. According to police, the two had been fighting over her suspicions of him having been unfaithful. Allemand then went home, called her mother and hung herself with a vacuum cord while she was still on the phone. Anderson found her later that evening and, although she was still technically alive, she was declared brain dead at the hospital and removed from life support two days later.

4. Simone Battle

Appeared On: The X Factor USA, 2011

Died: September 5, 2014

Cause of Death: Former X-Factor contestant Simone Battle was found dead. Sources say that the-25-year-old committed suicide because she was worried about her finances and about the likelihood of her making it big as a singer. Family members expressed confusion over both these reasons. They contend that Battle was doing well. She was part of the girl group G.R.L. and they had just finished a tour overseas. She had also recently made an appearance with G.R.L. on Good Morning America.

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

3. Ryan Dunn

Appeared On: MTV’s Jackass

Died: June 20, 2011

Cause of Death: Ryan Dunn – one of the stars on MTV’s Jackass – died in a fiery car crash. The reality TV star had been drinking when he decided to drive home. Dunn’s Porsche was reportedly speeding and jumped a guardrail, flew through 40 yards of trees and then burst into flames. Dunn and his passenger were killed immediately. The county coroner determined that drinking and speeding were the causes for the accident. Dunn had a blood alcohol level of 0.196 g/dL, which is more than twice the state’s maximum legal limit of 0.08%, and he had been traveling 130mph.

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

2. Jenni Rivera

Appeared On: I Love Jenni

Died: December 9, 2012

Cause of Death: Jenni Rivera – a popular Mexican-American singer and reality TV star and producer – died in a plane crash in Mexico, just hours after she had finished performing a concert. The reasons for the crash, according to Mexico’s aviation investigation agency, are the 78-year-old pilot, who was too old for the license he received from Mexican authorities, and the condition of the 43-year-old Learjet, which was flying unevenly and shaking when it reached cruising speed.

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

1. Russell Armstrong

Appeared On: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Died: August 15, 2011

Cause of Death: Russell Armstrong – husband of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong – committed suicide. Things had not been looking good for the reality TV star husband around the time of his death. His wife had just filed for divorce, citing physical and verbal abuse, and the former couple was being sued by MyMedicalRecords.com for more than $1.5 million lawsuit for misleading people into thinking that they were investing in the company and misusing funds to “live a lavish lifestyle.”

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Cate

Cate

Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.

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