Heather Armstrong, an explosively popular web writer and entrepreneur who, under the name Dooce, was hailed as the queen of the so-called mommy bloggers for giving millions of readers regular intimate glimpses of her joys and challenges in parenthood and marriage, as well as her harrowing struggles with depression, died on Tuesday at her home in Salt Lake City. She was 47.
Her death was announced on her Instagram channel. Pete Ashdown, her boyfriend, said the cause was suicide. He said he had found her body in the home.
Ms. Armstrong, a lapsed Mormon from Salt Lake City, rose to prominence at the dawn of the personal blog craze of the early 2000s. Her baptism in the field came after she graduated from Brigham Young University in 1997 and moving to Los Angeles, where she taught herself HTML code and took a job at a tech company.
She started Dooce.com in 2001, christening it with the nickname she had earned after committing a typo for writing the word “dude” in an AOL Instant Messenger chat with a friends, according to one of her stories.
Early on, she mined her experiences as a tech drone for material, firing off tart salvos about the absurdities of start-up culture in the swelling dot-com bubble, publishing, say, bro-ish pronouncements overheard at a company Christmas party. (“Ruben, dude, you can’t stand on the table. Or on the bar.”)
A year later, her blog candor got her fired, an experience that inspired a popular internet phrase, “Dooced,” referring to people who find themselves scanning job listings after posting ill-advised comments online. The term even found its way onto “Jeopardy!”
At first, Ms. Armstrong felt guilt.
“I cried in my exit interview,” she recalled. “My boss, who served as the subject of some of my more vicious posts, sat across the table from me unable to look me in the face, she was so hurt. I had never felt like such a horrible human being, even though in my mind I thought that I was just being creative and funny.”
But that career setback opened up vast opportunities for fortune and fame. In an era when countless people, women in particular, were starting personal blogs — often just for the pleasure of friends and family — Ms. Armstrong glimpsed commercial possibilities.
As the blogging boom approached its zenith in 2009, Ms. Armstrong was a breakout star, appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and attracting 8.5 million readers a month while tapping a gusher of income off banner ads, sponsored posts, books, speaking fees and other sources.
As noted in a 2011 profile in The New York Times Magazine by Lisa Belkin, Ms. Armstrong was the lone blogger featured that year on the Forbes list of the most influential women in media; she was ranked No. 26, one slot behind Tina Brown of The Daily Beast. The article quoted a sales representative for Federated Media, the company that sold ads on her site, who called Ms. Armstrong “one of our most successful bloggers,” adding, “Our most successful bloggers can gross $1 million.”
A full obituary will appear soon.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.