Bestselling author Shanna Hogan, 38, dies from brain injury after drowning in family pool in front of toddler son

Hogan has written books like ‘Dancing with Death’, ‘Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story’ and ‘The Stranger She Loved’


                            Bestselling author Shanna Hogan, 38, dies from brain injury after drowning in family pool in front of toddler son
(GoFundMe)

The New York Times bestselling true-crime author, Shanna Hogan, died on September 1 after getting fatally injured in a pool accident at her home in Phoenix. On August 27, Hogan was reportedly swimming with her 15-month-old son, Zander, when she tripped, hit her head, and drowned into the pool. Her husband, Matt LaRussa, found her unresponsive when he came home while their son was safe.

According to a GoFundMe page organized by Kathleen "Katie" Mayer, a friend and former colleague of Hogan, LaRussa pulled out his wife of nearly 20 years from the water and performed CPR before she was taken to a local hospital. The author remained in critical condition in the ICU for days before passing away on September 1. After her untimely death, her family donated her organs, which have already gone to save four people’s lives. "At a time where human kindness is so desperately needed, we've lost one of the people who gave that to our world, but Shanna's writing will live on, the lives she saved will live on and her greatest creation — her little boy — will live on to inspire all of us," Mayer told PEOPLE.

Hogan was 38, who wrote books, like ‘Dancing with Death’, ‘Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story’, and ‘The Stranger She Loved’. She was also a renowned journalist, who won Journalist of the Year award by the Arizona Press Club in 2010 and in 2011 by the Arizona Newspaper Association, and worked as an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, from where she studied.

The message on the GoFundMe page started by Mayer read: “Shanna Hogan lost her life tragically in August after a fall and accidental drowning at her Phoenix home. She leaves behind a 15-month-old son, who was the light of her life, and her husband of nearly 20 years, Matt LaRussa. This fundraiser will raise money to pay for the family's extensive medical bills, memorial costs and to support Zander as he grows up without a mother.”

“Shanna was always there for her family, friends, co-workers and readers with her warm smile and support. Now is our time to step up and be there for her family. Please help us in any way you can to reach our goal. If you are not in a position to donate at this time, please share this with everyone you know. We will never forget the mark Shanna left on our lives and on this world,” it added.

Remembering Hogan as a talented writer, Mayer told PEOPLE: “Her extraordinary style of storytelling drew you in as a reader, while her warmth drew in those she wrote about so they felt comfortable sharing their most personal stories with her." She added, “She had another book planned as well as a screenplay in progress and she was so excited about these projects. As a college instructor, she loved not only teaching but having fun in the classroom. She brought a zany sense of humor and so much laughter to her students. Personally, she was the kindest human being I have ever known and beautiful with thick red hair and a warm smile.”

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