MTV’s ‘The Real World’: Which Cast Members Have Died?

MTV’s The Real World was a staple in reality TV for nearly two decades, and fans will forever remember the stars of the series. Unfortunately, some fan-favorite stars died after finishing filming. Here’s who.

Who has died from ‘The Real World’?

(L to R) Sean Sasser and Jedd Winick from 'The Real World' standing side by side
(L to R) Sean Sasser and Jedd Winick from ‘The Real World’ | Rick Meyer/The LA Times

The Real World centers around strangers living in a home together and the drama/politics/conversations that ensue. The no-frills show brought in tons of engagement with this base premise, and fans still adore it today. But a few stars of the show died after filming their respective seasons.

Frankie Abernathy from The Real World: San Diego died in 2007, Today reports. She was just 25 years old and publicly deal with cystic fibrosis. As for her death, her mother shared with MTV that she’s unsure of what exactly occurred.

“She was doing fine, and we really don’t know very much yet,” her mother stated. “It still was kind of a shock, and it just wasn’t how we figured things would go. It seems like her little body just gave out.”

Joey Kovar from The Real World: Hollywood died in 2012. According to Us Weekly, Kovar was found dead by a female friend. His death was ruled an accident due to “a mix of cocaine, Viagra, and alcohol.”

Pedro Zamora starred in The Real World: San Francisco, and he helped pioneer HIV/AIDS education through his reality TV appearance. People reports Zamora died at the age of 22 back in 1994 due to AIDS complications. He contracted HIV five years earlier.

Sean Sasser had a relationship with Zamora and was also featured on The Real World: San Francisco. CNN reports Sasser died from mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer, in 2013 just a month after his diagnosis.

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There are a few other contestants who appeared on The Real World, Road Rules, and MTV’s The Challenge who died. Ryan Knight was known for his appearances on The Challenge, and he got his start with The Real World: New Orleans. Unfortunately, he died toward the end of 2014 at 29 years old. Reports noted Knight choked on his vomit after a friend’s party, resulting in his death.

Danny Dias, another Challenge contestant, also died. Dias got his start on Road Rules and died from “complications of chronic substance abuse,” New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s office told Page Six. The star was 34 years old.

Diem Brown, a fan favorite from The Challenge, died back in 2014. Us Weekly reports Brown died due to ovarian cancer returning for the third time and spreading to her colon and stomach lining. Brown was very vocal about her cancer battle while on The Challenge, and she had a well-documented relationship with C.T. Tamburello, another fan favorite.

Was ‘The Real World’ canceled?

Despite the deaths of past cast members, The Real World wasn’t officially canceled, though MTV appeared to stop creating new seasons of the show in 2017. Real World Seattle: Bad Blood was the last season to appear on the network. It was temporarily revived in 2019 with Facebook Watch. The Real World: Atlanta premiered with the Facebook service, but the show hasn’t been back since.

That’s slated to change now, though. The Real World Homecoming: New York features the cast from the original 1992 series, Vulture reports. The series revival will hit Paramount+ in early March 2021, and those who watched the original Real World seasons will certainly have plenty of feelings.

Fans are hopeful this revival season is just the beginning. But we’ll have to wait and see what producers decide.

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