Denise Russo, formerly of VH1’s reality series ‘The X-Life,’ dead at 44

Denise Russo attends the “X Life” Launch Party at Beso on December 15, 2010, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for JS)

(NEXSTAR) – Denise Russo, formerly a cast member on the VH1 reality show “The X-Life,” was found unresponsive and pronounced dead in California earlier this week. She was 44.

TMZ was among the first to report news of Russo’s death, citing law enforcement sources and former “X-Life” cast member Susie Stenberg, who described Russo as “the most loving and loyal person.”

A press release from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office specified that Russo was found unresponsive on March 5 at a friend’s home in San Diego. Emergency responders performed “aggressive attempts” to resuscitate her, but ultimately pronounced her dead at the scene.

The manner of death is currently under investigation, though the Medical Examiner’s office noted the discovery of drug paraphernalia in the home.

Russo was among the main cast members of the 2011 VH1 reality series “The X-Life,” which followed the lives of three extreme athletes and their respective partners. Russo alongside then-boyfriend and Canadian professional skateboarder Pierre-Luc Gagnon.

Russo was among the main cast members of the 2011 VH1 reality series “The X-Life” with then-boyfriend Pierre-Luc Gagnon. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for JS)

“When you think of extreme sports you think of highly competitive, tatted-up, bad-boys with little regard for their own safety whose sole mission is to push the limits of physics beyond the edge of what is thought possible,” VH1 described the series ahead of its January 2011 debut. “But there’s a whole other layer that fuels their cutting-edge quest — the gorgeous, fearless, women who love them.”

Russo and Gagnon split up sometime after the series ended, E! Online reported, but the two are parents to an 8-year-old son. She had also said in a recent interview with Inked magazine that she just finished a “grueling custody battle” from which she said she was still recovering.

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