The Australian model and actress collaborated closely with the mental health organization, R U OK?

By Colleen Kratofil
January 09, 2019 01:33 PM
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On Monday, news broke that Australian model Annalise Braakensiek, 46, was found dead in her Sydney home, and while many of the circumstances surrounding her passing still remain unclear, friends and colleagues have turned to social media to share their heartfelt tributes.

Police conducted a welfare check on the model on Sunday at her Sydney home, after those close to her notified authorities that they were concerned about her whereabouts. As The Sydney Morning Herald first reported, the responders found the body of a 46-year-old woman dead inside.

At this time, her cause of death remains unknown and is not thought to be suspicious, The Guardian reported.

Braakensiek, who was an advocate for mental health, joined the Australian suicide prevention charity R U OK? in November 2018 and following the news of her death, CEO Brendan Maher released a statement.

“We are still processing the sad news we have heard today about our much loved and respected Ambassador Annalise Braakensiek,” said Maher. “Annalise has been a huge voice for suicide prevention in Australia. Nothing we have ever asked of Annalise was too much, she has stepped up time and time again to share our message, even when she was going through her own tough times. We couldn’t have asked for a more genuine, kind and sincere spokesperson. Our team sends condolences to her family and friends at this devastating time.”

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On Dec. 14, less than a month before her death, Braakensiek posted an Instagram explaining that she felt life was “twisted and upside down.”

“Everything seems to feel twisted and upside down at the moment… am I right?! Life’s challenges have been deep, dark, difficult, demanding and down right scary lately,” Braakensiek captioned a black and white photograph of herself naked standing on her head.

“For me and so many others I know. But today is a new day! and I’ve also had some of the best jobs, travels and experiences of my life this year for which I’m THAT grateful. So, here’s to happiness and light, endless possibilities and new beginnings,” Braakensiek continued.

In a post on Dec. 4 she wrote: “Hanging in there by the hair on my chiny chin chin. Sheesh it’s been a challenging year for so many of us, am I right?!?!?!”

The model made her TV debut in 1997 as Stephanie in Heartbreak High and went onto star in Home and Away (1998), Pizza (2000), Play Your Cards Right (2002-03), Mr. Accident, Fat Pizza (2003) and Sleuth 101 (2010).

Her Fat Pizza co-star Rob Shehadie Tweeted: “So sad and gutted to hear about the passing of Annalise Braakensiek, she was an amazing person. I will always cherish the great memories we had on the set of Fat Pizza and on tour. God rest your soul Annalise.”

Australian’s Biggest Loser former host Ajay Rochester also wrote a touching tribute to her late friend calling her the “sweetest most down to earth loving soul” and suggesting that her death may have stemmed from depression.

“OMG I AM DEVASTATED! Just heard Annalise Braakensiek has passed. This is heartbreaking,” Rochester’s message began.

“She was the sweetest most down to earth loving soul. At a time afterwards when the media went to town on me she was always there for me sending me messages of love and encouragement and always offering walks from Bondi to Bronte – one of her favorite things to do. So incredibly sad that we lost another one to depression. Please , anyone suffering reach out, and if you see someone suffering please reach back out to them. We are losing way too many people this way.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide or struggling with mental health issues, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).