Vegan influencer with raw fruit diet dies of starvation and exhaustion

A vegan influencer who only ate fruit, sunflower seeds and juice has reportedly died from starvation and exhaustion.

Zhanna Samsonova, 39, was originally from Kazan, Russia, but had been living in South-East Asia and on the raw vegan diet for five years.

Zhanna, known as Zhanna D'Art online, was also an active promoter of the diet. Pictures she shared on social media showed her to be incredibly skinny.

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Her mother Vera Samsonova told Russian media she died on July 21 from a "cholera-like infection" made worse by "exhaustion of the body by a vegan diet". She added Zhanna was supposed to fly home just hours after she passed.

One of her friends said: "A few months ago, in Sri Lanka, she already looked exhausted, with swollen legs oozing lymph.

"They sent her home to seek treatment. However, she ran away again. When I saw her in Phuket, I was horrified.

"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."

Zhanna's family is still waiting for a medical report and official cause of death. They are also trying to get her body back from Malaysia to Russia.

Discussing her diet previously, Zhanna explained: "I eat simple food, although I have a lot of experience as a raw food chef. I love creating my own recipes and inspiring people to eat healthier.

"For the last four years, my diet has been only fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies and juices.

"I only got to this level after five years on a completely raw vegan diet.

"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."

Some friends claimed her diet had become much more restricted in recent years. One explained: "Zhanna's idle stagnation was causing her to melt before our eyes, but she believed everything was fine.

"Only her eyes, merry eyes, and gorgeous hair compensated for the dreadful sight of a body tortured by idiocy. Forgive me if it sounds harsh."

In an Instagram post from seven weeks ago, Zhanna said it was "time to gain weight".

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