The world of reality TV lost many notable names this year. Sadly, many of these reality TV stars died while in the prime of their lives and some, while they were in the prime of their reality TV careers.
Let’s remember those we lost in 2018…
(Names that are hyperlinked can be clicked for more information.)
Bobby Zarin (‘The Real Housewives of New York City’): January 13
The husband of ‘Housewives’ star Jill Zarin passed away on January 13 after a nine-year battle with cancer. Bobby beat thyroid cancer in 2009, only to have the cancer return in 2013. He was 71 at the time of his death.
Joel Taylor (‘Storm Chasers’): January 23
Joel, who appeared on the Discovery Channel’s reality show about a group of people who chase tornadoes, died on a cruise ship on January 23 at the age of 38. His death was later determined to be caused by a fatal mix of drugs in his system.
Brian Lancaster (‘Road Rules: Latin America’): March 29
The ‘Road Rules: Latin America’ star died on March 29 of suspected heart failure. Brian, who starred on the MTV reality show back in 1999, was 43.
Adonijah Foster (‘Three Wives, One Husband’): April 15
Adonijah, whose birth was featured on the TLC polygamy reality show ‘Three Wives, One Husband’ died tragically in a house fire on April 15. His father, Enoch Foster, reported that he had caught the toddler playing with matches once before the fire broke out. Adonijah was only two years old at the time of his death.
Verne Troyer (‘The Surreal Life’, ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ & More): April 21
Verne, best known for playing “Mini Me” in the ‘Austin Powers’ movies, also appeared on a variety of reality TV shows, including ‘The Surreal Life’ in 2005 and ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ in 2009. Verne had a very high level of alcohol in his blood at the time of his death on April 21, but his death was later ruled a suicide. He was 49.
Blake Painter (‘Deadliest Catch’): May 25
Blake, a boat captain who appeared on Seasons 2 and 3 of the Discovery Channel reality show ‘Deadliest Catch,’ was found dead at his home in Oregon on May 25. Drugs and paraphernalia were found inside his home at the time of his death, but no cause of death was released publicly. He was 38.
Anthony Bourdain (‘Parts Unknown’ & more): June 8
The award-winning chef and longtime reality TV star was found dead in a French hotel room by his friend on June 8. The cause of death was an apparent suicide. Anthony– who had starred on numerous reality TV shows over the course of his career, including ‘No Reservations’ and ‘A Cook’s Tour’– was in France to film an episode of ‘Parts Unknown’ at the time of his death. He was 61.
Neal E. Boyd (‘America’s Got Talent’): June 10
Neal, who won the third season of ‘AGT’ back in 2008, died on June 10 at the age of 42. His death was the result of multiple health issues including heart failure, kidney failure and liver disease, some of which were attributed to his weight. He was only 42.
Richard “Old Man” Harrison (‘Pawn Stars’): June 25
The often grouchy, yet always beloved “Old Man” of ‘Pawn Stars’ died on June 25 following a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Richard was the founder of the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, the show where ‘Pawn Stars’ is set. He was 77 at the time of his death.
Annabelle Neilson (‘Ladies of London’): July 12
Annabelle– who starred on the Bravo reality show ‘Ladies of London’ until Season 2– was found dead in her home after suffering a heart attack. She was 49.
Nicholas “Duffy” Fudge (‘Wicked Tuna’): July 19
The 28-year-old ‘Wicked Tuna’ star died “unexpectedly” on July 19, according to a post to the official ‘Wicked Tuna’ Facebook page. The show’s fans will best remember him as the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s boat Pinwheel. His cause of death has not been revealed publicly.
Jessica Vogel (‘Hell’s Kitchen’ & ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’): July 30
Jessica, who competed on ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ during Season 12 in 2014, died July 30 while in the hospital being treated for colitis. During her time on ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ she won three challenges. In 2016, she returned to reality TV to compete on a chocolate-themed episode of ‘Cutthroat Kitchen.’ She was 34 at the time of her death.
L.B. Bonner (‘My 600 lb. Life’): August 2
L.B. appeared on the sixth season of ‘My 600 Lb. Life’ and quickly became a fan favorite, due to his 300 lb. weight loss after appearing on the show. He frequently posted inspirational messages to his social media pages. On August 2, he was found dead in a South Carolina park from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was only 30 years old.
Dennis Shields (‘The Real Housewives of New York City’): August 10
Dennis, the on- and off-again boyfriend of ‘Real Housewives’ star Bethenny Frankel died mysteriously on August 10. Dennis’ assistant told EMTs when they arrived on the scene that Dennis had already been given two doses of Narcan— a medication often given to patients experiencing an opioid overdose— before his death. He was 51.
Lyric McHenry (‘EJNYC’): August 14
Lyric, who was a producer and star of the E! reality show ‘EJNYC,’ was found dead on a NYC street on August 14. She was 26. It was later determined that she overdosed on drugs and alcohol. A man has since been arrested in connection with Lyric’s death.
Lisa Fleming (‘My 600 lb. Life’): August 23
Lisa was one of the most-memorable people to ever appear on the TLC reality show ‘My 600 lb. Life,’ due to her heartbreaking story of being bedridden for years due to her weight. After her appearance on the show, Lisa dropped 200 lbs, but continued to battle a series of illnesses that eventually contributed to her death. She was 50.
Robin Leach (‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’): August 24
Robin Leach, the longtime host of one of the first reality TV shows— ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’— passed away in August at the age of 76. His death came 10 months after he suffered a devastating stroke.
Beverly McClellan (‘The Voice’): October 30
The star of the very first season of ‘The Voice’ succumbed to endometrial cancer after a long battle with the disease. She is best known for finishing in third place during ‘The Voice’ Season 1. She was only 49 at the time of her death.
Jael Strauss (‘America’s Next Top Model’): December 4
Jael died from Stage 4 breast cancer, just two months after being diagnosed. She was a standout during her season of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ in 2007 and later made headlines after appearing on ‘The Dr. Phil Show’ while battling an addiction to meth. She got sober and began working at a rehab center before her death at the age of 34.
William “Willbilly” Hathaway (“Wicked Tuna’): December 15
William is the second ‘Wicked Tuna’ star to die in 2018. He passed away on December 15 after being involved in a car crash. He was 36 at the time of his death.
RELATED STORY: Reality TV Stars Who Died in 2017
(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
L.B. Boner (‘My 600 lb. Life’): August 2
I believe it is L. B. Bonner with two “n”s.