Reality TV Tragedies: Stars Who Met Terrible Fates, From Garrison Brown to Anna ‘Chickadee’ Cardwell

Reality TV Tragedies: Stars Who Met Terrible Fates, From Garrison Brown to Anna ‘Chickadee’ Cardwell

Days before his death, Garrison Brown was focused on saving a life.

On February 29, the 29-year-old posted a cuddly shot with a rescue cat. “Newest edition to my home, Ms Buttons,” the Sister Wives star captioned the shot. “She’s 9 years old and was on the line for euthanasia but my savior complex couldn’t suffice. #crazycatlady”

Sadly, he couldn’t save himself. Flagstaff, Arizona, police said in a statement that Garrison, who appeared on the TLC show about his parents Janelle Brown and Kody Brown’s polygamous lifestyle since it first aired when he was a child in 2010, had died “of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound” March 5.

He is just one of several reality-TV personalities to have died under tragic circumstances recently, leaving fans and family devastated by their loss.

One of six kids born after Janelle and Kody spiritually wed in 1993, Garrison grew estranged from his father, particularly after Janelle announced their split in 2022. (Kody is also separated from two other spiritual wives and remains legally wed to one.)

Janelle later worried on air that Garrison “seems angrier and sadder… not as happy-go-lucky,” while Kody complained that he and his brother Gabe had shut him out: “They’re not willing to engage me.”

Still, the parents were shocked that their “beautiful boy” had taken his life. “He was a bright spot in the lives of all who knew him,” they said in a statement. “Our loss will leave a big hole in our lives that takes our breath away.”

Terrible Accidents

Reality stars let cameras into their lives, sometimes to document their struggles. That was the case for Sean Garinger and Selena Gutierrez, who appeared on the sixth season of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. But at the time of his March 5 death at age 20 in an ATV accident, Sean was on an upswing.

He was more than 200 days sober and had recently seen his daughters, Dareli, 3, and 19-month-old Esmi.

Though he was estranged from Selena, she said her “heart aches” for Sean’s mother, Mary Hobbs, who witnessed the accident that killed him. “No matter the circumstances, that was my kids’ father,” the 20-year-old told one news outlet.

“Not only was I with him for nine-plus years, he was my first love, my first everything, and we had two beautiful daughters that I’ll always be grateful for.”

Other reality shows are all about the danger their stars face. National Geographic’s Wicked Tuna showcases the lives of commercial fishermen as they compete to catch the most Atlantic bluefin tuna. “New Rivals, Rough Seas,” reads the advertisement for the show, now gearing up for its 13th season.

Charlie “Griff” Griffin was a fan favorite, appearing on seasons 2 through 5 of the spinoff Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks from 2015 alongside his son Jake Griffin, who served as first mate of his boat, Reels of Fortune.

And it was on a boat that Griff met his fate. On the morning of March 4, his vessel was reported missing as he navigated from Virginia to Wanchese, North Carolina, through some of the East Coast’s most difficult waterways. The 35-foot boat was later located, along with the body of Griff and his beloved dog, Leila. At press time, a second passenger was still missing.

Long Illness

Then there are the reality stars whose complicated lives have unspooled before cameras. Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell first appeared alongside her mother, “Mama June” Shannon, and half sister Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras and then on the family’s spinoff, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which launched in 2012.

Things got dark over the course of the show as Anna came forward to reveal that one of her mother’s boyfriends had sexually assaulted her when she was 8. But the family had reconciled at the time of Anna’s death from stage 4 adrenal carcinoma in December.

“She gave it one hell of a fight for 10 months,” June said of the 29-year-old, who is survived by two young daughters.

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