Popular YouTube star and actress Stevie Ryan, who rose to fame on the back of her internet parodies and viral videos and even secured her own sketch comedy series on VH1, was found dead in her home Saturday from hanging. She was 33 years old.
According to the Los Angeles county Coroner’s Office, Ryan’s parents found her at her residence on Saturday afternoon. An autopsy listed the cause of death as suicide by hanging and specified that Ryan did not leave a note.
Ryan opened up about her struggle with depression on the podcast “Mentally Ch(ill)” with co-host Kristen Carney, candidly telling the audience about how she underwent an experimental treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in order to combat the condition. The procedure uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the areas of the brain that control mood.
“I was very shocked,” Carney told New York Daily News of Ryan’s sudden death. “I knew she wasn’t doing well, but I didn’t think it was at this point. She was just so sad. I just didn’t realize how sad.”
Of the TMS treatment, Carney confessed that Ryan was cautiously optimistic: “She didn’t really think it was working, but she was feeling hopeful and going to continue the treatment.”
Ryan rose to YouTube stardom in the late 2000’s with a string of self-produced sketches that featured impersonations of stars like Amy Winehouse, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. She also created her own characters, including a “homegirl” named Little Loca, and put them in humorous situations. Ryan’s videos proved immensely popular, with some garnering millions of views.
VH1 took notice of Ryan’s success and offered her the chance to star in a program called “Stevie TV” that debuted in 2013 and saw Ryan hone her particular brand of humor. The show lasted for two seasons and shot 14 episodes.