House Hunters host Suzanne Whang has died at 56 following a battle with breast cancer, her partner confirmed on Facebook.
The HGTV personality, who hosted and narrated the long-running real estate show from 1999 to 2007, died at 7:20PM Tuesday night, according to the post.
“Suzanne breathed her last breath here at home, as I knelt beside her and caressed her,” Jeff Vezain wrote in a heartfelt message. “A lifetime of love, adventure, humor and bliss now lives in our memories.”
Vezain noted that she had “confronted cancer with courage, humor, determination and optimism. She was immensely encouraged by the love of her family, friends and those she had yet to meet.”
He also thanked fans for their condolences shared on Facebook. His message, shared on Suzanne’s page, has nearly 800 comments as of Friday morning. “Your kind, loving messages always lifted her spirits. I know she would prefer that her life be celebrated, as opposed to her passing mourned, but I also know how vehemently she disagreed with anyone being told, ‘Don’t cry.’ So…cry if you will. I’ve been crying a LOT! And laughing…and everything in between. It’s all part of life, but laughter was a staple of our dynamic.”
He continued, “We have appreciated all of the kind words and memories shared on her Facebook page. It has brought much comfort. As I say good bye to a soul who was more than a true love, but also a best friend and an intellectual and spiritual book-end, know that we may not be able to respond to queries, but will try to keep you updated.”
Vezain also shared what he loved most about Whang, writing, “Her audacious sense of humor blessed many, shocked a few, but allowed us to laugh in the face of adversity. She was an amazing daughter, sister, friend, mentor and advocate.”
HGTV also released a statement about her passing: “Suzanne was warm, funny and kind with a distinctive voice that made everyone feel at home. Our HGTV family mourns her loss and wishes to express deepest condolences to her friends, fans and family who knew and loved her.”
Whang documented her battle with breast cancer on social media. In February, she shared an image of her bare chest that showed a large tumor at its center and a scar from previous surgery. Still, she kept her sense of humor about her treatment.
“Yep, that’s a photo of my chest. I have 3 t-ts now, and the tumor is bigger than both of my other t-ts combined! Sheesh,” she wrote. “I just wanted you to see what I’m dealing with. It’s much more aggressive than the cancer I had in 2011, so I’ve had to increase my dosage of targeted immunotherapy, which is quite costly.”
To help cover mounting medical expenses, friends hosted a charity fundraiser. “I want to be able to afford whatever they recommend for the next chapter of my recovery,” Whang wrote on Facebook. “So let’s all say Ta-Ta to the Third Tata!”
To attend the March event, which she dubbed the “I’m Still Alive Fundraiser,” Whang dressed her tumor for the occasion with red lips and googly eyes. She raised $18,000 for her treatment in a week.
In addition to being a familiar face on HGTV, Whang was also an actress and appeared on shows including Dexter, General Hospital, and Criminal Minds. She also hosted the House Hunters spin-off series House Hunters International.
Before finding TV fame, she studied psychology at Yale and Brown University.
As recently as July, Whang appeared to be ticking of some bucket list items, visiting Kauai, Hawaii, to visit a shaman as part of what she called her “healing journey.” Her partner also surprised her with a trip to see two favorite bands, Manhattan Transfer and Take 6.