Niece Waidhofer, a model who had built a huge following on social media by pairing sexy selfies with sometimes brutally honest captions about self-esteem and mental health, has died. She was 31.
Waidhofer died by suicide in her home in the Houston area in May, TMZ reported.
"She was very open with her followers about her struggles, even wanting to help followers who also suffered," her family told TMZ. "Niece was more than her struggles. She was beautiful and kind, sensitive and funny, creative and talented, generous and compassionate, thoughtful and challenging. While it is so very painful to say goodbye, we take comfort knowing she is reunited with her father, her three grandparents, her Uncle Rusty, and her beloved Puff; and that she is now free to be herself and, finally, at peace."
An online database for Montgomery County in Texas, which is part of the metropolitan Houston area, indicates that "Deniece Janean Waidhofer" died on May 14.
Waidhofer had more than 4 million followers on Instagram. Her page featured hundreds of photos and videos until a few weeks before her death when all but three posts vanished. That reportedly concerned her fans.
The most recent post still visible, shared on March 25, is a selfie from inside a car showing Waidhofer with apparently newly dyed blond hair.
"Mildly interesting: blonde is actually my natural color, I have been living a lie all these years," she wrote. "Once you go black, you have to paint your blonde roots with mascara every time they grow out until you go back."
The post had more than 70,225 likes as of Thursday afternoon.
A subreddit dedicated to Waidhofer (r/NieceWaidhofer) has been renamed "RIP Niece Waidhofer." "Gone far too soon," the description reads. "Condolences to her family & friends. May she find peace now."
In a post, one Reddit user alluded to the criticism and even outright harassment that many women face on social media.
"Words matter, people. Please be responsible with what you say to people online," redrexthemex wrote. "Condolences to Niece's family and friends. She seemed like a nice person, on top of being a very attractive woman."
If you are or someone you know is thinking about suicide or otherwise need(s) help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). Also, you may be able to dial 988, depending on your area. You will be transferred to the crisis center nearest you. The Lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States. The calls are free and confidential.