Real World San Diego cast member Frankie Abernathy reportedly dies

Frankie Abernathy, a cast member on The Real World San Diego who left the show mid-season, has reportedly died of cystic fibrosis. (Update: Frankie’s mother confirmed her death.)

Kansas City alternative weekly The Pitch reports that she died this weekend, citing “an insider over at ad firm Barkley, where Frankie’s dad, Perry, worked for more than 14 years as an ad executive.” The paper offered no additional details.

MTV’s biography for her said she was diagnosed “at the age of three, [and] she spent her entire childhood and most of adolescence symptom free. Unfortunately, in her late teens there were numerous hospital stays but today she’s mostly well.”

There were rumors as far back as three years ago that Frankie was dead; The Pitch reported in July of 2004 that “Internet rumors were swirling recently that our own lovable, dysfunctional, television drama queen Frankie Abernathy had kicked the bucket.” In addition, her “official” web site has a message that says “FRANKIE IS NOT DEAD! THE RUMORS ARE FALSE!” That web site redirects to another that is no longer active, and the Internet Archive’s copies of that site show that it has had the same message as far back as three years ago, so that is not a recent update.

So Long to the Real World’s Frankie and Goodbye, Real World [The Pitch]
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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.