My 600 Lb Life‘s extensive cast has begun grieving publicly over the death of one of their own. While the Matthew Ventress cause of death remains unconfirmed by the former star’s family, several of Matthew’s co-stars reacted with a mixture of grief, sadness, and shock upon hearing Matthew had died.
Matthew’s death was first reported by The Ashley, who confirmed the news following a Facebook post by Matthew’s brother Wayne Compton on Tuesday. Wayne, who has not commented on Matthew’s death, wrote, “I’m sorry bro, I accept you for who you are…I’m sorry you felt you had nobody else to turn too, I’m sorry you felt you had no other option.”
Since then, the widespread belief has been that the Matthew Ventress cause of death was suicide. There is still no official confirmation of that possibility from Matthew’s family or close friends.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Matthew spoke openly and often about their mental health struggles, including suicide. In their 2020 lawsuit against My 600 Lb Life production company Megalomedia, Matthew claimed that filming for the show had been so painful, they had considered suicide.
(One quick note: Matthew filmed their Season 7 episode under the name Destinee LaShaee. A couple of years ago, for what they said were personal reasons, Destinee resumed using the name Matthew Ventress, which they had been given at birth.)
Matthew’s castmate and close friend Annjeannette Whaley shared one of the first tributes to Matthew after news of their death spread. “Today is one of the Hardest days in my life I just have no words,” Annjeannette wrote on Facebook. She added:
Today my world was Shattered and I am not okay. Please give people space especially when people they Love pass away I mean idk about y’all but I feel like I can’t breath so for now I’m just trying to wrap my head around everything because if I’m being Honest I just don’t wanna believe it’s true, even though I know it is I just Can’t ! My beautiful Handsome friend is gone I’ll love and miss you forever my Alien 💔💔🕊😭
My 600 Lb Life stars Annjeannette Whaley and Matthew Ventress in 2021. Photo via Facebook.
Another of Matthew’s Season 7 castmates, Lacey Hodder, wrote a long and thoughtful tribute to their friend’s memory. Among the memories Lacey shared was the day she, Matthew, Annjeannette, and Maja Radanovic spent together in Houston back in 2019, which resulted in (among other things) an oft-discussed, beautiful photo of the four of them together.
Lacey also addressed the topic of mental health in general, calling depression a “hard and difficult battle” and assuring anyone going through what Matthew struggled with that “you can overcome it.”
Below is Lacey’s full, unedited post on Matthew Ventress and mental health. You can read her post in its original context here.
This is really sad & I really wanted to say something. A beautiful soul I met while doing My 600lb Life has passed away. I had the pleasure of spending my 30th birthday with Destinee. That’s what Matthew went by when I met him. It was an incredible day at the houston aquarium, along with my Mom, Annjeanette, Erica, Angies Dad, & Maja. We all got on the ferris wheel! Which was awesome, because we hadn’t been able to do so in years. It was like a stepping stone to our new lives. I was never close with Matthew, but I know that in his soul he was a loving and caring person from the moment we met. He brought joy to my life that day, & I will cherish that memory forever.
The reason I wanted to share this memory was to bring attention to mental illness. Depression is a hard & difficult battle. There is so much pain and hurt in our world currently & it is not easy to go through. Everyone has a different story when it comes to mental health, & I know how hard it is to reach out when you are in a dark place. When you can’t see or feel the spark of life anymore, you don’t see the point in reaching out in that moment. I think maybe it’s fear that keeps us from reaching out, because maybe that person you talk to will give you that spark back. Even if it’s the tiniest spark. It’s scary because once you come back from that dark place you still have to deal with what put you there in the first place. That right there is what I want to put attention to, because you can overcome it. If you are in a dark place looking for a sign of hope please take this as that sign. It is okay to need help to get through something. You can get through it, no matter how much it hurts. You can do it. Whether it’s help from a professional, from your best friend, or a stranger on the internet. It is okay to be afraid of asking for help, but don’t let fear keep you from receiving it. You are always enough. You are always important. You are worthy. You are loved, by someone you may not even realize. You can find your spark again.
To Matthews family & the people who were close with him. I’m very sorry for your loss. I’m sorry he lost his battle with heartbreak. I know his soul has finally found peace.
We’ll update this article with more tributes from My 600 Lb Life cast members as they are made public.
John Sharp is Starcasm’s chief editorial correspondent-at-large. E-mail him a hot tip.