Frankie Abernathy, 25; appeared on ‘MTV Real World: San Diego’

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Frankie Abernathy, 25, who was in the 2004 reality show “MTV Real World: San Diego,” died June 9 at her family’s home in Shorewood, Wis. The Milwaukee County medical examiner did not give a cause of death but said an autopsy and lab tests were underway. Abernathy had suffered from cystic fibrosis since age 3.

One of seven young adult cast members thrown together at a waterfront Point Loma home, the much-tattooed and pierced Abernathy left the reality show before filming was complete, saying she missed her boyfriend back home.

Several episodes showed her smoking despite her struggle with the hereditary lung disease, and her habitual “cutting,” or self-mutilating, incidents were dealt with as part of the drama of the program.


Born Dec. 21, 1981, in Blue Springs, Mo., Abernathy returned to the Kansas City area after leaving the show and worked various odd jobs. She moved with her mother and stepfather to Wisconsin last fall and was hospitalized when her health declined.

“It’s a really weird thing to have fame and have never done anything to deserve it,” she told the Kansas City Star in 2006.