RIP Chris March — 'Project Runway' Alum Dead At 56

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How Did Chris March Die? New Details On Death Of 'Project Runway' Alum At 56

One of the first years that I lived in New York, I was sitting in a restaurant in the West Village spending money I did not have on a lunch that would be too small when I spotted fashion designer Chris March walking down the street. It was my first authentic New York celeb-spotting, and while Chris, a star of Bravo's Project Runway, might not be everyone's idea of an A-lister, to me it was all the proof I needed that moving to the city to pursue my dreams of writing was the right thing to do. Who was Chris March? March was a celebrated fashion designer and TV personality and he died far, far too soon.

1. RIP Chris March 

Chris March, oh how you will be missed! I, like many, first stumbled across Chris when he appeared on Bravo's Project Runway. Tragically, at the age of just 56, Chris has passed away from a heart attack and his fans are in mourning. Chris wasn't just a reality TV star, he was a force of nature! Chris' kind and outgoing personality earned his fans all over the globe. He even designed such drool-worthy wigs that he eventually got his own successful line at Target! Chris came back to TV to star on Project Runway All Stars, and then actually got his own show on the network, Mad Fashion. Chris was beloved by celebrities, having designed outfits for people like Madonna, Lady Gaga and even Beyoncé. 

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2. Chris March Was A Fighter

Chris was born in Alameda, California in 1963. After appearing on Bravo, Chris should have had the world at his feet, but tragically life had some tough blows to deal him. In 2017 he suffered a serious fall which injured this head. According to family and friends he never truly recovered from this accident. When Chris was first brought to the hospital, the situation was so grave that the doctors decided to put him into a medically induced coma. He wound up staying in that state for more than two months. When he woke up, he was paralyzed in both legs and could no longer move his right arm. But Chris was a fighter, and thanks to his support network, he fought and won back some of his old life. 

3. Chris Time With Runway

Prior to his time on Bravo, Chris was already a well-respected theatrical costume designer. When he appeared on Project Runway in season 4, it quickly became clear that he was one of the top contenders and all eyes were on him. It came down to Chris and designer Christian Siriano. Both men designed amazing capsule collections as their final challenge, and while Siriano won the day there was no denying that Chris March had done his absolute best. He became such a fan favorite that Bravo offered him another show all of his own. It was while he filmed this show that he forged connections with some of the most powerful women in Hollywood. Chris even once designed for Meryl Streep. 

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4. Chris' Health Scare

When Chris had his serious accident in 2017, it changed his life in so many major ways. But he did survive. However, when he was first brought to the hospital, his family desperate for answers spoke to doctors who told them that it wasn't likely that Chris was going to survive. They thought they were saying good bye. “I woke up and called 911 and somehow got to the hospital. My blood sugar was over 500. My kidneys started failing, my right lung collapsed, and they had to give me a tracheotomy and put me on a ventilator…. my gall bladder was infected. I had a wound on my right leg. My body went septic. I came close to death many times—they called my family and they were told if they wanted to say good bye to come right away,” said Chris of his time in the hospital. 

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5. Out Of The Limelight 

While Chris' health journey was a long and serious one, his fans never forgot him, even when he took time out of the limelight to try and get his health back on track. Our health care system is difficult to navigate, even when you're relatively famous, and in 2019 Chris spoke with his fans on Bravo about his own journey. Eventually, a friend of his started a GoFundMe page to help Chris get the help he continued to need. More than 60,000 thousand dollars was donated to help Chris. This money was used to help him with physical therapy and to keep up the payments that needed to be made to cover the costs of his residence at an assisted living facility on the West Coast. 

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6. A Bright Light 

Even with his health woes, Chris was always a sparkling person who looked for a chance to dust the world with glitter. "The biggest [setback recently] being that my medical insurance went up over 500 [percent] at the beginning of 2019. I am also in need of leg braces, specialized physical therapy, a hearing aid, and a new living arrangement. Where I am now is unbearable and makes me anxious and depressed every day. I have considered suicide many times. I have tried my best to make strides. There is a long road of physical therapy ahead of me. In December I was awarded disability, but California gives 95 [percent] of it to this facility, which leaves me with $52 per month. In the face of all my setbacks, I try to remain positive—the leg braces are an exciting new tool on my road to recovery. I am trying to get my tracheotomy removed, and I try my best to effect positive change in this facility for myself and all the residents here. I try to add humor, glamour, and a little glitter to my world," said Chris in one of his last interviews. 

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.