Vegan influencer Zhanna Samsonova, who died after following a strict fruit-only diet, hadn’t drunk water for six years before her death.
Vegan influencer Zhanna Samsonova found walking “very difficult” and hadn’t drunk water in the six years before she died.
The 39-year-old is feared to have starved to death after attempting to live off an extreme fruit-only diet.
The Russian national – known as Zhanna D’Art to her social media followers – died on July 21 in a Malaysian hospital following a tour of Southeast Asia, The Sun reports.
She previously told her followers that she had spent the last four years of her life eating and drinking “only fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies and juices.”
Her mother, Vera Samsonova, said she had caught a “cholera-like infection” – exacerbated by her diet – just hours before she was due to fly home from her travels.
Her friends, who said she suffered from anorexia, had feared that her diet was becoming increasingly restrictive in recent months.
One friend, Olga Chernyaeva, told Russian newspaper Novye Izvestia how Samsonova could barely walk.
“I watched her journey to death for seven years. About five months ago, I met Zhanna in Sri Lanka and she had a haggard look.
Her mother ‘fought for years’ to help her daughter who ‘didn’t listen’ as she grew weaker.
“Her legs were swollen… It was amazing that she was still moving – I think she did it through pain.”
Chernyaeva added that Samsonova refused to get treatment and she was forced to helplessly watch as she turned to “only bones” and was left bed-bound.
“She was in bed for almost a month. If she got up, it was very difficult for her to walk – it took several minutes to overcome one step of the stairs.”
The raw food influencer also had touted online that her body does not “require” water.
“I have not drunk water for the last 6 years. This is a common occurrence in those who are on a fruit diet,” she wrote on Instagram post from last year.
“This is not something that I limit or restrain myself, it’s just that my body does not require it,” she added.
The food influencer believed eating only fruit made her look younger. Credit: Instagram/@rawveganfoodchef
Samonova’s mother, Vera, 63, has now revealed how she “fought for years” to save her troubled daughter.
“She chose this path. I fought for many years [but] she did not listen to her mother,” she told Russian media.
Another friend reported how seeing Samsonova several months ago had left her “horrified”.
“Her hands were like those of my 12-year-old sister, thin,” they told Russian news outlet 116.ru.
“A few months ago, in Sri Lanka, she already looked exhausted.
“They sent her home to seek treatment. However, she ran away again. When I saw her in Phuket, I was horrified.
She openly told her fans she hadn’t drunk water in six years, saying her body didn’t ‘require’ it. Credit: instagram/@rawveganfoodchef
“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.”
Samsonova regularly promoted her fruit-only diet online, telling her 16,000 followers that: “I see my body and mind transform every day.
“I love my new me, and never move on to the habits that I used to use.”
Her diet, she believed, made her look younger and healthier than her friends.
She said: “I feel very sad when I see most of my peers. Because of junk food, they look much older than their age.”
Only days before she died, Samsonova shared the haunting last message: “Life is meaningless but worth living provided you recognise it’s meaningless.”
The cryptic note written over a selfie with her mouth open came after seven weeks of silence on her Instagram.
Samsonova’s official cause of death has not yet been determined and her family are currently fighting to bring her body home.