Johnny “The Greek” Karagiorgis has died, with the Real Housewives Of New Jersey star reportedly suffering a heart attack this weekend.
The cast member’s death was confirmed by his family and employees on Sunday. Many fans mourned the news on social media, tweeting their condolences and sharing stories of Karagiorgis’ death.
Fans knew Karagiorgis as the owner of the New Jersey hair salon frequented by many members of the cast. He was also at the center of a lawsuit involving several cast members after a violent brawl at Kim D’s Posche 2 store opening.
The cast members had accused Karagiorgis and his wife of spreading rumors about cast member Melissa Gorga and mocking the son of Chris and Jacqueline Laurita, who is autistic. The tensions came to a head in 2013, when a fight broke out among the cast members and Karagiorgis couple.
The brawl never actually made it into the Real Housewives of New Jersey, but it resulted in big off-screen drama for several cast members and for NBC itself. Johnny Karagiorgis and his wife, Penny, had originally filed a lawsuit against a number of cast members and later added Bravo’s parent company and the show’s creator, Andy Cohen, accusing them of “gross negligence.”
The lawsuit was filed in Hackensack, N.J., in 2013, and claimed that Gorga and Christopher Laurita punched Johnny Karagiorgis “in the face and/or head with a closed fist,” and that Jacqueline Laurita “unlawfully attacked John Karagiorgis by striking him on the head and/or face with a stiletto-type shoe,” Radar Online reported.
The lawsuit also claimed that Johnny Karagiorgis and his wife “have suffered but are not limited to bruising, scarring, disfigurement, fractured bones, facial lacerations, mental anguish, psychological health problems, physical discomfort, pain and suffering, economic losses, and shame and embarrassment.”
A source said at the time the lawsuit was filed, the Karagiorgis couple believed there was a plan to attack them.
“Johnny says they all knew the altercation was going to happen,” a source told Radar Online. “… He believes everything is a big conspiracy and this was planned and orchestrated weeks in advance.”
The couple ended up settling the lawsuit earlier this year, avoiding what NJ.com reported could have been big trouble for the reality show franchise.
“The suit, filed by John Karagiorgis and his wife Penny Drossos, threatened to blow the lid off the extent of producer manipulation in the popular reality series. Filed in 2013, the lawsuit claimed that the show’s producers, in an attempt to maximize drama and goose ratings, conspired with stars Joe Gorga and Jacqueline and Chris Laurita to confront Karagiorgis and Drossos about rumors they allegedly had been spreading.”
As the blog All About The Real Housewives noted, Johnny Karagiorgis had kept a largely low profile since the lawsuit.
“Our New Jersey insiders tell AllAboutTRH that Johnny suddenly passed away from a Heart Attack. Johnny the Greek had remained a low profile since filing a lawsuit against Bravo. He recently Instagrammed a photo of himself on May 17th getting into shape for the summer writing, “johnnythegrkSummer’s around the corner … Are you getting ready … The grind is real …?”
Outside of his fame on Real Housewives of New Jersey, Johnny “The Greek” Karagiorgis was known in New Jersey as part of a family of well-known business owners. His father, Nicholas Karagiorgis, was the founder of the hot dog joint known as Rutt’s Hut, NJ.com noted.
[Image via Facebook/Penny Drossos Karagiorgis]