Denise Russo Dies: ‘The X-Life’ Star Was 44

Denise Russo, who appeared in the VH1 single-season reality series The X-Life in 2011, died March 5 at the apartment of a friend in San Diego. She was 44.

Her death was confirmed by Deadline with the San Diego Medical Examiner. An investigation on the cause of death is pending.

According to the Examiner’s report, Russo was found on the afternoon of March 5 unresponsive on the floor while at a friend’s home in San Diego. Emergency crews were called and first responders arrived at the location, but despite “aggressive attempts at resuscitation,” her death was pronounced. Drug paraphernalia was located on scene.

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At the time of her reality show stint, Russo was dating professional skateboarder Pierre-Luc Gagnon. The show followed the lives of extreme sports athletes and their wives. (The “X” in the title referred to extreme sports, not ex-partners.)

Russo recently participated in a “cover girl search” for Inked Magazine (she placed sixth in an early round). In a questionnaire for the contest, Russo, asked what she would do with the $25,000 grand prize, indicated she would use the money to “reconnect” with her eight-year-old son.

“I would use the money to build a foundation to reconnect with my son,” she answered. “I went through a grueling custody battle and I am still recovering. The money would help bring the stability in life to reunite us.”

According to TMZ, Susie Stenberg, Russo’s friend and former X-Life castmate, said that Russo was homeless and living in her car at the time of her death. Stenberg described Russo as “the most loving and loyal person.”

Complete information on survivors was not immediately available, though the Examiner’s report indicates that next of kin were notified of her death.

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