RIP Thomas Trussell III — Model And Friend Of Demi Lovato Dead At 31

The 31-year-old model died of an overdose.

RIP Thomas Trussell III — Model And Friend Of Demi Lovato Dead At 31 getty

How did Thomas Trussell III die? Demi Lovato is mourning the death of her friend Thomas Trussell III this week. The singer took to social media to share a tribute to the 31 year old model who died last week. Trussell was a model who worked with Next Models Management and had a few small acting roles as well.

Trussell reportedly died of an overdose and friends indicated that he had struggled with addiction for some time. He had been sober in the past but relapsed into drug use. The death has had a deep effect on Lovato, who has struggled with her own addiction and suffered a serious overdose in 2018. She has since been to rehab to deal with her ongoing recovery.


1. Died of an overdose

Radar Online spoke with the medical examiner's office and learned that Trussell was found dead at a Super 8 motel in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles on October 8. Someone called 911 to report that the 31 year old needed medical assistance around 8pm. “He was found deceased on the scene. No transport was made to the hospital,” an LAFD spokesperson said. There will be an autopsy and toxicology report in the future but for now, no one can say what caused the overdose. 


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2. The real me

Though Trussell was a working model with famous friends, he shared that he had a more vulnerable side on his social media. In a recent Instagram post he wrote "The raw me — I have a chipped front tooth, I dropped out of college, I’ve had many many obstacles that put me in crazy positions, I have 2 scars on my chin from falling on a bike TWICE !! some would say I’m a savage. But under it all I have a huge heart that wants to take care of someone. My purpose is to spread love and help everyone around me. GOD first."



A post shared by  T H O M A S  (@sirtruss) on Sep 21, 2019 at 8:58pm PDT

He shared his vulnerable side on social media.


3. Demi shares the tragedy

“Devastated. Please hold your loved ones tight. Tell them they are special and that you love them. Make sure they know it,” the Grammy nominee wrote on her Instagram Stories this week according to the Daily Mail. She followed with a second post saying “Addiction is NO joke... heaven gained a beautiful angel last night because of that terrible disease. I’m crushed and will always miss you @sirtruss. If you or someone you know is struggling please know it’s okay to ask for help.”

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4. Other friends mourn

In an especially poignant post, stylist Maeve Reilly posted a tribute to her lost friend as well. "My best friend and little brother overdosed and died yesterday. It’s taken me a day to write anything down. I loved you so much Tommy. You lit up every room. You loved hard," she wrote.  "You showed up for your friends. You wanted to be sober so bad. You really tried. I watched you. Countless relapses but you always came back. We laughed and cried. You baby sat me through my breakup 6 months ago. You didn’t leave my side. You showed up for me everyday. We saw or spoke to each other everyday. We had the most random fun. It looked like I was taking care of You. But you were taking care of me. I have watched people die of the disease of addiction before but never someone this close to me. I will cherish you in my heart forever Tommy." 



A post shared by Maeve Reilly (@stylememaeve) on Oct 9, 2019 at 6:40pm PDT

He will be missed by many.


5. Bringing up hard memories

For Lovato, the specter of overdose is all too real. She herself suffered from a serious overdose in 2018 and was hospitalized in the aftermath. She had been found unconscious and reportedly needed Narcan to revive her.

Some time later, in a now-deleted Instagram message, she explained what happed to her fans. “I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction,” Lovato wrote at the time “What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.”

“I want to thank God for keeping me alive and well,” she continued. “To my fans, I am forever grateful for all of your love and support throughout this past week and beyond. Your positive thoughts and prayers have helped me navigate through this difficult time. I want to thank my family, my team, and the staff at Cedars-Sinai who have been by my side this entire time. Without them I wouldn’t be here writing this letter to all of you.” She ended by asking for the time and space to focus on her own recovery.


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6. A continuing process of recovery

Lovato did a 90 day stay at rehab after the 2018 incident. But a few months after being discharged, she checked herself back in. A couple of people close to the singer explained that it was just because she wanted some extra support. The first insider explained to US Weekly, “It was Demi’s decision and she checked out after about two weeks. She is in a better head space and recognizes the seriousness of her addiction.” A second source said, “She at no point relapsed since last summer’s overdose.”

7. A major health concern 

Overdoses are increasingly common in America and cause untold grief to families. The CDC estimated that 70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017. One estimate says there are as many as 192 overdoses per day. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.