The 38-year-old writer died at her Phoenix home, and in front of her toddler son
Shanna Hogan has tragically died due to a pool accident at her home in Phoenix. The New York Times bestselling true-crime author was swimming with her 15-month-old son, Zander, on Aug. 27. Her friend and former colleague Kathleen "Katie" Mayer told PEOPLE that the writer slipped, hit her head, and was left submerged in the water. Her son who was wearing a life vest was, fortunately, able to be rescued by Hogan's husband of nearly 20 years, Matt LaRussa. Heartbreakingly, Hogan was found in the water unconscious. She was taken to the hospital and remained in the ICU in critical condition for several days. Mayer said "friends, family, and colleagues prayed around the clock for Shanna to pull through" but she didn't make it and ultimately passed away on September 1.
Mayer set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of Hogan's family. It said: Wife, mother, friend and talented author Shanna Hogan lost her life tragically in August after a fall and accidental drowning at her Phoenix home. She received extensive medical treatments in ICU to attempt to save her life, but her brain suffered too much damage and we lost this wonderful woman. 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. Please help us help this amazing family. 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. So far it has raised $25,038 at the time of publication.
Well-wishers warmly remembered the late writer on the fundraising page. Lisa Tomaselli said: I met Shanna on a story we were both covering and I will always remember her as such a kind and generous soul. So sad to hear of her passing. Strength and prayers to her family. Hayley Ringle shared: My heart goes out to Shanna's family and son. She was such a beautiful soul. I'm happy to hear her organs will be donated and will help others.
Shanna's website highlights that she was "an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of several true-crime books including Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story. She has written for numerous publications and has received more than twenty awards for her feature writing and investigative reporting. Shanna was named Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Press Club in 2010 and again in 2011 by the Arizona Newspaper Association."
Mayer told PEOPLE, "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 described her friend as a "talented writer with a gift for beautiful descriptions and compelling narratives." She noted that Hogan's writing drew readers in. She said, "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 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." As for how Hogan was personally, Mayer recalled that "she was the kindest human being I have ever known and beautiful with thick red hair and a warm smile," adding that, "She was the type of person to text you just to tell you, 'Hey, I think you're awesome and I just wanted you to know that.'"
COVER IMAGE SOURCE: GoFundMe