Charlotte Dawson, a popular TV personality in Australia who battled both Twitter bullies and her own psychological demons, was found dead in her Sydney apartment Saturday morning, reportedly committing suicide by a combination of prescription medication and alcohol. She was 47 years old.
A highly active participant on the social media platform Twitter, Charlotte Dawson reportedly issued a final tweet reading simply, “You win.” The message is believed to be directed at Twitter bullies who for months tormented the New Zealand-born former model, who became a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model.
After an earlier attempted suicide in November of 2012, also a reaction to Twitter harassment, Charlotte Dawson became a highly public anti-bullying crusader, taking to the media as well as Twitter, with her anti-bullying campaign.
But Charlotte Dawson was also frank about her lengthy battle with clinical depression, which she said drove her to step back from fame.
“That inspired me to work really hard, and get out of the game altogether,” she said in a September interview last year. “It’s been wonderful. But a lot of my anxieties and upsets have been due to very public canings.”
While vivacious and confident in public, according to friends she struggled with a lack of self-worth brought about by her mental illness.
“She was crying for hours, saying ‘I’m not so good.’ I knew she wasn’t well,” one friend told The Sydney Morning Herald after hearing that Dawson had died. “I knew she wasn’t strong but then, a minute later, she would bounce back and be laughing… She was so tough and yet so vulnerable.”
Friends also revealed that since pulling back from her once-thriving career on Australian television, Charotte Dawson was experiencing serious financial difficulties and could not pay the weekly AUS$1,200 rent — about $1,080 in American money per week — on her apartment in Sydney’s upscale Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf development.
She was a close friend of movie star Russell Crowe, who publicly mourned her death Saturday.
Charley D…Just don’t understand. There’s not enough kind souls as it is. Rest in peace.
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) February 22, 2014
In addition to Top Model, Charlotte Dawson also hosted Australia’s version of the boxing reality show The Contender and took part in that country’s edition of Celebrity Apprentice.
Following her 2012 suicide attempt and subsequent anti-bullying campaign, some in the Australian media took aim at Charlotte Dawson for what they said was her hypocrisy due to her own frequent use of sharply worded, often cruel put-downs of fashion industry and TV rivals.
In one series of tweets, she called for “somebody” to “kill” fashion blogger Brian Boy, adding, “Please, please, please….” She later said the tweet had been meant in jest. But Charlotte Dawson herself was the target of Twitter bullies who told her they hoped she would commit suicide.