Porn star August Ames, a rising star in the adult film industry, reportedly died Tuesday in California. She was 23.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed her death to The Blast.
The outlet reports that her cause of death is currently unknown, but friends suspect it was a suicide, as Ames was prone to depression.
Law enforcement sources said she was pronounced dead at the scene, and there was no indication of foul play.
“She was the kindest person I ever knew and she meant the world to me,” her husband, director Kevin Moore, told industry trade magazine Adult Video News (AVN), which first reported news of her death. “Please leave this as a private family matter in this difficult time.”
Ames was born Mercedes Grabowski in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1994, and worked in a bar and at a tanning salon before joining the adult film industry in 2013, according to AVN.
Throughout her four years in the business, she appeared in more than 270 X-rated films for companies like Evil Angel, Smash Pictures and Lethal Hardcore.
Her popularity had risen steadily since she nabbed a nomination for Best New Starlet at the 2015 AVN Awards; she scored a nomination for Female Performer of the Year in 2016, 2017 and the upcoming 2018 Awards, set for January.
She also had a large social media following, though friends tell The Blast her prominent online presence may have contributed to her death.
Ames’s Twitter feed was littered in recent days with cyberbullies accusing her of being homophobic after she publicly chose not to work with an unidentified actor who had previously shot gay porn.
“Whichever (lady) performer is replacing me tomorrow for @EroticaXNews, you’re shooting with a guy who has shot gay porn, just to let cha know. BS is all I can say. Do agents really not care about who they’re representing? #ladirect I do my homework for my body,” she wrote Dec. 3.
Shortly after posting the tweet, Ames was forced to defend herself against a flood of online harassers.
“NOT homophobic. Most girls don’t shoot with guys who have shot gay porn, for safety. That’s just how it is with me. I’m not putting my body at risk, I don’t know what they do in their private lives,” she wrote.
A day later, on Dec. 4, she expressed frustration with the criticism.
“Choose who YOU want to work with”
“Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable”
“Share your thoughts.”
Hmm. Well, I did all three, and twitter took a dump on me,” she wrote.
She defended herself again after a user responded to the tweet urging her to apologize.
“F–k you guys for attacking me when none of my intentions were malicious. I f–king love the gay community! What the f–k ever! I CHOOSE who I have inside my body. No hate,” she wrote.
Ames was remembered on social media by her fellow porn stars, including Charlie Sheen’s ex-girlfriend Brett Rossi.
“A beautiful life is GONE because people like to use their ‘fan base’ to bully others because THEIR opinion doesn’t agree with YOURS,” she wrote on Twitter. “RIP to a sweet, kind, soul…I’m so sad & so angry. A life wasted simply because HER opinion didn’t mesh with YOURS.”
Added Anikka Albrite, “My heart is broken for my industry sister. People are cruel and depression is a bitch. Please be good to each other. #RIPAugust.”
Report by New York Daily News.