A vegan chef who heavily promoted her love of raw foods on social media has reportedly “died of starvation” at the age of 39.
The Russian native Zhanna Samsonova — known online as Zhanna D'Art — has been following a vegan diet for more than 10 years, but for the last four has only consumed fruits, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts and juices, according to local newspaper Vechernyaya Kazan.
Her mum Vera Samsonova told the publication early information suggests her daughter died in Malaysia on July 21 from a “cholera-like infection”. She was due to fly home to her family the same day, forcing friends to break the devastating news.
While officials have not confirmed her cause of death, Vera said she believes the 39-year-old influencer’s restrictive food habits had “exhausted” her body.
Friend 'horrified' by vegan influencer's appearance
An anonymous friend told Newsflash she saw a very tired-looking Zhanna “with swollen legs” in Sri Lanka a few months ago.
“They sent her home to seek treatment. However, she ran away again. When I saw her in Phuket, I was horrified,” they said, according to the New York Post. “I lived one floor above her and every day I feared finding her lifeless body in the morning. I convinced her to seek treatment, but she didn’t make it,” the friend added.
Claim vegan blogger 'only eating durian'
Another friend reportedly told other local outlets Zhanna had only been eating durian — a spiky tropical fruit known for its pungent aroma — for the past seven years.
Seven weeks ago Zhanna posted a video of herself eating the creamy pulp found inside the native delicacy.
“And finally it’s a fruits seasons in Thailand! [sic]” she wrote on Instagram. “This is the most awaited time! Time to gain weight! The amazing variety of Thai fruits. A typical Thai tradition meal includes eating seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are well-known for being delicious and fresh.”
Earlier in the year she posted numerous photos of colourful vegan burgers, raw pizzas, “rainbow sushi rolls” and cakes. Zhanna’s mum said she had tried to stop her daughter from continuing with her radical diet, but she did not agree.
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