Social Media Influencers That Died Far Too Young

The following article contains references to suicide, addiction, and mental illness 

The advent of social media has been a game changer for young influencers. Platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram have spawned a new wave of celebs, many of whom found fame from the comfort of their own bedrooms, sharing stunning selfies on the 'gram or uploading riotous vids on the clock app. Famously, Khaby Lame went from losing his job during the pandemic to becoming a millionaire through his relatable TikTok takedowns of life hack videos, per The Guardian. And while fame at such a young age is welcome for many, it also comes with a barrage of pressures and responsibilities.

Being thrust into the public eye can have devastating consequences, as influencers are pressured into constantly making content, leading to intense burnout, per The New York Times. Indeed, these consequences can be deadly. Tragically, some social media stars have died trying to go viral, while others struggle with mental health issues due to the potentially negative impact that apps such as Instagram have on body image.

Accordingly, there are numerous influencers who have died at a young age. Many of these bloggers died in their 20s, while others didn't even make it to adulthood. As quickly as these stars' shone, they faded away. Get the Kleenex ready, as we take a deep dive into the social media influencers who died far too young.

Tanya Pardazi

Tanya Pardazi was a TikTok influencer who shared videos under the moniker philosatea. Her unique brand of philosophical musings, avowedly feminist takedowns of the patriarchy, and criticisms of the influencer industry itself garnered over 100,000 followers and millions of likes. 

Tragically, Pardazi's life and career were cut short when she was killed in a skydiving accident in 2022, aged just 21. Per CNN, the adventurous TikToker had been taking skydiving lessons shortly before the accident, but suffered devastating injuries when the stunt went terribly wrong. The skydiving company shortly released a statement, claiming, "The skydiver released a quickly rotating main parachute at a low altitude without the time/altitude required for the reserve parachute to inflate." However, this summation appears to be inaccurate. According to a report by The Daily Mail, Pardazi, who undertook the "Solo First Jump Course," was wearing a parachute that was supposed to open automatically, contrary to reports that she opened the chute too late. Accordingly, it is believed that the malfunctioning parachute was responsible for the influencer's devastating fall.

The late star's friends remembered her as someone who was always keen to take on a challenge to remedy what she deemed the tediousness of everyday life. "Tanya had an interest in anything that was new and adventurous," a childhood pal told CTV News Toronto. "Life was too boring for her and she was always trying to do something adventurous."

Claire Wineland

Claire Wineland devoted her all too brief life to vlogging about living with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting the lungs and leading to severe respiratory problems. On her YouTube channel, which had almost half a million subscribers and generated tens of millions of views, Wineland posted videos that were simultaneously light-hearted and educational in chronicling the everyday struggles of living with cystic fibrosis.

She also gave TEDx Talks, starting when she was a child. In one such talk, filmed when she was 14, Wineland explained that she wasn't expected to live past 18, having already undergone 25 surgeries. The youngster stated that she didn't want pity from people; rather, she hoped to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest.

In her final YouTube video, entitled "Thank you," an ailing Wineland said that she was excited for the future as she anticipated her double lung transplant. She was initially denied access to a transplant, but thanks to a fundraiser she was put on the list again and was due for surgery. "Everything that I do from here on out is because of you guys," she poignantly said at the end of the video. "So I guess now it's just a matter of getting the lungs... There's really nothing else in the way, so I guess let's do this." Tragically, she suffered a blood clot after the transplant and died a week later, aged just 21, per CNN.

Cheyann Shaw

A famed fitness influencer, Cheyann Shaw devoted her popular Instagram account to her penchant for competitive bodybuilding, per indy100. In 2016, when she was just 23, Cheyann was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and underwent surgery to remove a number of organs, including her spleen and uterus, per Express.

One of the most painful aspects of her diagnosis was the fact that she lost all the muscle she had gained through years of working out. "It was tough to see all my muscle and hard work disappear," Cheyann told People. "It is still tough for me to see my old pictures when I was fit and had a ton of muscle ... I know looks aren't everything, but when you spend years working and building your body to the best it can be, it's hard to see it all just vanish." Subsequently, she began chronicling the changes to her body on Instagram in an effort to alleviate stigma surrounding the disease.

After just under 4 and a half years of living with ovarian cancer, Cheyann died, aged 27. In a message posted on her Instagram, her family thanked her followers for their support and said that they hoped the late influencer would inspire others with her infectious positivity: "If there's one thing Cheyann taught us is that no matter what battles we face, we can always find a reason to smile through them." She was survived by her husband, Kaleb Shaw, whom she married the year of her diagnosis.


Etika, born Desmond Daniel Amofah, initially started out on YouTube as a rapper, before he began vlogging about video games. Etika delighted fans with his enthusiastic videos and overzealous reactions to "Super Smash Bros".

In time, his content took a darker turn, however. As noted by Polygon, he began showing signs of mental illness in his YouTube videos, but fans treated his ill-health as a joke, erroneously believing he was faking his instability for views. In one instance, he was arrested during an Instagram live stream after exhibiting apparently delusional behavior. The outlet argued that there was inherent racism to the mocking of his health concerns: "'Loud and Black' is a racist stereotype used to discount the people who are expressive and passionate. This became a lens for viewers to see Etika as a character. At the same time many white viewers mocked him, they also imitated him."

In 2019, Etika uploaded a video onto YouTube in which he discussed having suicidal ideation, per BuzzFeed. Shortly after posting the video, which was removed for violating YouTube's terms of service, he was reported missing. Less than a week later, he was found dead in New York, aged just 29. His death was ruled a suicide. Rolling Stone argued that Etika's demise shone a light on mental illness within the gaming community, with many of the late vlogger's fans detailing their own struggles with suicidal ideation following his untimely passing.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.


Technoblade was beloved in the gaming community, amassing an impressive 15 million subscribers on YouTube. He was known for his entertaining videos on "Minecraft," having first begun posting content on YouTube in 2013, when he was a teenager, per Rolling Stone. After winning a number of "Minecraft" gaming tournaments in 2019, he rocketed to fame and became a social media star.

After experiencing pains in his arm, he was diagnosed with cancer, as he revealed in a video, entitled "where I've been," uploaded in 2021. Technoblade initially believed the pain was caused by his repetitive gaming, but after going to the hospital he was told that he had a cancerous tumor and began undergoing chemotherapy. Sadly, he died less than a year after his diagnosis, aged just 23. At the request of the late gamer, Technoblade's father posthumously shared a video in 2022, dubbed "so long nerds," to his account. "Hello everyone, Technoblade here," he said. "If you're watching this, I am dead. ... If I had another hundred lives, I think I would choose to be Technoblade again every single time as those were the happiest years of my life. ... I love you guys. Technoblade out." 

His tearful father recalled his final moments, as he reassured his son, who was eager to pen a goodbye message, that he had entertained millions of people and could now rest. Eight hours after writing the goodbye message, Technoblade died. "Minecraft" paid tribute to him on Twitter, highlighting the joy he brought to the community.

Niece Waidhofer

Influencer Niece Waidhofer first found fame via the "Roast Me" trend on Reddit, in which users invite others to lampoon them using witticisms. But after receiving hateful comments that grew increasingly personal in nature, she deleted her account, per indy100.

Waidhofer, who was a successful Instagram model with over 4 million followers, took to the social media platform to call out Redditors who used her "Roast Me" as an excuse to be misogynistic, as opposed to coming up with witty burns. Additionally, her DMs were flooded with men sending photos of their genitals, while one user claimed to be her ex. "Thank you to the majority of commenters, who were actually funny, and thank you to all the nice people who had my back against the people who just got excited about a free pass to use the "c" word," she wrote in a since deleted post.

In the lead up to Waidhofer's death, fans grew concerned when she deleted all but three photos on her account, per The New York Post. Sadly, the 31-year-old died by suicide in 2022, having struggled with depression for years, per TMZ. "She was very open with her followers about her struggles, even wanting to help followers who also suffered," her family told the outlet. They said that they hoped to open up a charity in her honor to aid people struggling with mental health issues.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Emily Hartridge

British YouTuber Emily Hartridge amassed a huge following for her comedic videos. She gained popularity for her "10 Reasons..." series, in which she offered a comic take on modern life, with videos covering topics such as ageism, bisexuality, and masturbation. Her final video, entitled "10 Reasons To Get A Younger Boyfriend," saw the vlogger gushing about her beau, Jake, who was eight years her junior. Poignantly and perhaps somewhat prophetically, she declared, "I don't really like salt and pepper hair. I'm very young at heart."

Tragically, her life and career were cut short when she was struck by a truck at the Queen's Circus roundabout in London, while on her e-scooter in 2019, per The Guardian. She was 35. Her death is believed to be the first fatal crash involving an e-scooter in the U.K. 

Following an inquest, it was determined that a deflated tyre led to Hartridge's untimely demise. As the BBC reports, a coroner determined that Hartridge was riding her unstable scooter too fast, its improperly inflated tyre causing her collision with the truck, killing her instantly. "For those who knew Emily she was just incredible — such an amazing person to be around and to call her my girlfriend was literally the best I felt in my life," her boyfriend told the outlet.

Ethan Peters

Beauty influencer Ethan Peters made a name for himself on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, amassing millions of followers under the name Ethan Is Supreme. He found fame when he was just 12, selling his meme Instagram account for $25,000, before embarking on a career as a star makeup artist, per Vice.

Ethan Peters was known for his gothic-tinged makeup looks, with Vice describing his aesthetic as "dramatic, emotional and, at times, gory" and inspired by emo bands. Discussing the key to his appeal, Ethan encouraged other teens to embrace their authentic selves. "My advice to someone starting out in the industry is just always and forever be unapologetically yourself, never do anything to please anyone or any brand," he told Medium. He also cited Jeffree Star, a superstar MUA who is considered problematic, as his biggest inspiration.

As with many influencers, Ethan also generated controversy. Per Insider, he made problematic posts about Doja Cat and the late rapper XXXTentacion. Subsequently, he was frequently the target of online harassment, which his family partly blamed for his substance misuse issues. "The cancel culture we find ourself in weighed heavy on his heart. He wanted nothing but to inspire, make people laugh and push the boundaries of what is acceptable in our world for all young people," his father, Gerald Peters, told Fox News. "He was kind soul, who accepted everyone for who they were." Ethan died aged just 17 in 2020. His death was ruled a drug overdose.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Nicole Thea

Nicole Thea was much loved for her beauty and lifestyle posts on Instagram and YouTube. On July 8, 2020, she shared a snap of herself having a milk bath, surrounded by flower petals as she cradled her prominent baby bump. "I forgot how I use to pose without my baby bump to be honest... I see why pregnant women hold their stomach. It's natural now," she wrote. Just days later, she would be dead.

On July 12, 2020, it was announced on Instagram that Thea, who was eight months pregnant, and her unborn son, Reign, had died. She was 24. Initially, there were rumors that the influencer had died in childbirth. However, it was later confirmed that she had a sudden heart attack. Speaking with The Daily Mail, her uncle, Charles Murray, revealed that she'd been experiencing chest and back pain, and also had difficulty breathing in the weeks leading up to her death. Subsequently, she had a massive heart attack.

Thea's boyfriend, Global Boga, later blamed medical negligence for the young influencer's death. In a video posted on his late partner's YouTube channel, Boga said that he was in disbelief at the deaths of Thea and their unborn baby. He explained that the couple went to the hospital multiple times and Thea had numerous medical check-ups and tests, but no health issues were determined. "That doesn't make sense because Nicole could have lived... and my son could have lived as well," an emotional Boga said.

Talia Castellano

A beauty influencer, Talia Castellano spent her brief life sharing her love of makeup and fashion with her 1.4 million YouTube followers. All the while, she was living with childhood cancer, having been diagnosed when she was eight years old, per ABC News. She had both neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system found in babies, and leukemia.

In a video posted when she was 12, Castellano discussed the aggressive nature of the cancers, admitting that there was little in the way of available treatment. She was also frank about her hesitancy with regards to a bone marrow transplant, suggesting that she would rather enjoy the little time she had left than go through the procedure. "The doctor said if we didn't go through with it they said four months to a year," she said, adding, "I hope you guys understand where I'm coming from not really wanting to do the transplant."

In 2012, the makeup-loving Castellano was made an honorary CoverGirl thanks to Ellen DeGeneres, on whose show the youngster appeared, per the Los Angeles Times. Sadly, she never made it to adulthood, dying at the age of just 13 in 2013. As reported by The Orlando Sentinel, she died in a children's hospital surrounded by her family. DeGeneres and CoverGirl paid tribute to Castellano, with the latter declaring, "We are honored to have known Talia and grateful for all the ways she showed us what true beauty means," per E! News.

Michael Brooks

Much loved for his famous laugh, akin to Ray Liotta's in "Goodfellas," Michael Brooks used his social media accounts to channel his left-wing activism. Notably, he was co-host of "The Majority Report with Sam Seder," where he built a reputation for his comedic impressions of political figures, and also hosted his own eponymous show.

"Majority Report" fans were shocked when Michael died suddenly in 2020, aged 36, per Variety. An episode of the show, which aired on the day of Michael's passing, was cut short when a visibly stunned Sam Seder appeared to be informed of his colleague's death. Poignantly, he had been discussing Michael right before he was told the sad news. His death was initially attributed to a "sudden medical condition," which was later confirmed by his sister, Lisha Brooks, to be a blood clot in his throat. "I spoke with Michael for about an hour, hour and a half, on Sunday night. He was totally fine," Lisha tearfully recalled, noting that he died soon after. "It was just a horrible, unexpected, terrible thing," she added.

Michael was highly popular in leftist circles, counting Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil and union activist, among his admirers. "This year I met this young American, a journalist, who turned out to be a friend, who I thought that [I] would meet again," da Silva tweeted. "How is it possible?... May his passion for social justice be remembered and inspire people around the world."

Deborah James

After being diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer at the age of 35, British influencer Deborah James devoted her life to raising awareness of the disease, per Bowel Cancer UK. Fashioning an online career under the moniker Bowel Babe, James amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and TikTok, where she chronicled life with cancer via a unique combination of educational posts and humorous dances.

In an effort to encourage other people to check their stools for blood, she even dressed up as the poop emoji. "I just thought it would go away, and blamed it on my crazy IBS, and stress," she wrote in The Sun regarding finding blood in her stool. "I buried my head in the sand and got on with it. ... Then I got tired, really really tired."

After six years of living with cancer, James announced in May 2022 that she was receiving end of life care, per BBC. She generated headlines when she was made Dame in a day, as Prince William arrived at the ailing blogger's home to bestow the esteemed honor. In her final weeks alive, James ensured that she fit in as many of the glitzy events she loved as possible, appearing at Royal Ascot and launching her own charity clothing campaign, per The Daily Mail. James died that June, outliving her initial prognosis of less than a week by over a month. She was 40. The following day, her BowelBabe fundraiser reached £7 million ($8 million).

Landon Clifford

Landon Clifford found fame chronicling his life as a teen father on YouTube, starting the channel Cam&Fam with his wife, Camryn Turner, where they gained 1.6 million subscribers. Clifford and Turner married as teens in 2019 and had two children together, per USA Today. The couple's final video, entitled "Teen Dad Tries Labor Pain Simulation," showed Clifford seemingly in good spirits as he was hooked to a device that simulated the pain of giving birth.

In 2020, Clifford suffered a traumatic brain injury and was declared brain dead after falling into a coma, as Turner announced on Instagram. He died six days later, aged just 19. His widow revealed that his organs were donated. "He died saving the lives of others," she wrote in a moving tribute. "That's the type of person he was. ... He was an amazing husband and the best father those girls could of ever asked for. It saddens me deeply that they will never get to truly know him."

In a YouTube video, Turner divulged that Clifford died by suicide. She discussed her late husband's ongoing struggles with depression, anxiety, and addiction, explaining that he was a reserved person who didn't share his personal turmoil with others. After their second child was born, he began to feel better, but the depression slowly came back. "I would give anything to be able to hug Landon right now. Life is just so, so precious," she tearfully said at the end of the video.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).


John Bain, best known as TotalBiscuit, found fame on YouTube as a gamer and reviewer, where he accumulated 2 million subscribers. In 2014, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, when he was just 29. In a YouTube video dubbed "My Little Problem," he warned his fans not to ignore signs of cancer as he did. He explained that he'd been having bowel problems and stomach pain for a year and a half, but dismissed them. Subsequently, he highlighted the stigma surrounding people openly discussing their bathroom habits. "That's a real part of the problem. ... This is why this condition can sneak up on you, because people are not talking about it and they're not willing to actually go and get it checked," he said.

Two years later, he revealed on Twitter that the cancer had spread to his liver, but the tumor was successfully diminished with treatment. Unfortunately, the cancer soon returned. In 2017, he appeared on the "H3 Podcast," where he discussed living with stage 4 cancer. "That's the only option there is: Just to keep going," he mused. "What other option is there? ... There's nothing else. Nothing beyond this."

In 2018, John announced on Reddit that his illness was terminal. The vlogger died soon after, four years since his initial diagnosis, per the BBC. He was 33. John was survived by his wife, Genna Bain, who paid tribute to him with a heartbreaking poem on Twitter.