Charlotte Dawson, a model, actress and TV presenter best known for being a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model, was found dead on Saturday. She was 47.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a realtor had entered Dawson’s two-bedroom waterfront apartment to prepare it for a viewing. The agent found Dawson’s body and notified police. Authorities say there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.
The day before her death, Dawson – who had a history of depression and reportedly attempted to commit suicide in 2012 – supposedly filmed a morning TV show, had brunch with a friend and was photographed walking in the sunshine, looking happy and relaxed.
The New Zealand-born Dawson left home at 16 and signed with Ford Models in New York City. In the early 1990s, she relocated to Australia. Working as a fashion director and editor, she took several acting roles before settling into television hosting. She was a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model and hosted the boxing reality show The Contender Australia.
In 2012, she competed on The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, raising money for the Smile Foundation, an organization that provides operations for children born with cleft palates.
A Personal Life in Turmoil
Despite her professional successes, Dawson’s personal life was often tumultuous. In 1999, she married Olympic swimmer Scott Miller. Although the marriage ended after a few short months, she struggled with the breakup and said he was the only man she would ever marry.
After Miller recently gave a tell-all interview to 60 Minutes in Australia, Dawson spoke out: “I continue to fight my depression,” she told Fairfax Media last week. “I fear that watching [the interview], as it’s about the most painful time in my life. [The divorce] broke me very much. I had to go away for five years and rebuild my life. I’ve adjusted and moved on, but it is still very painful.”
Online Death Threats
In August 2012, she received hundreds of online death threats after she became involved with anti-cyberbullying organization Community Brave. An online group began a sustained campaign of Twitter harassment, telling her to “stick your head in a toaster” and “go hang yourself.” After fighting back against the bullies, it seems she finally gave up.
“Hope this ends the misery,” she reportedly Tweeted, attaching a picture of a handful of pills. “You win.” She spent two days under psychiatric observation. In an interview with Australia’s 60 Minutes, she called the incident “really humiliating and embarrassing,” but claimed to be recovering from it.
Dawson’s sudden death has left many in shock, as they mourn her passing. John Key, the prime minister of New Zealand, said that he was “shocked and saddened” to hear of her death.
Russell Crowe, a friend for nearly 30 years, also Tweeted about her death. “Charley D…just don’t understand,” he wrote. “There’s not enough kind souls as it is. Rest in Peace.”