Diem Brown

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Diem Brown
Diem Brown.jpg
Danielle Michelle Brown

(1980-06-12)June 12, 1980[1]
DiedNovember 14, 2014(2014-11-14) (aged 34)
New York, United States
Cause of deathOvarian cancer
Alma materFlorida State University
OccupationTelevision personality
Years active2005–2014

Danielle Michelle "Diem" Brown[3] (June 12, 1980 – November 14, 2014) was an American television personality, philanthropist, and entertainment reporter. She was best known as a recurring cast member on the MTV reality television series The Challenge. She also founded MedGift, a web-based advocacy service that provides a gift registry for patients and support pages to both people experiencing illnesses and their caregivers. Before her family settled in the United States, Diem and family moved frequently due to her father’s Army postings. Diem spent a significant amount of her pre-high school childhood in Baumholder, Germany. She attended high school in Roswell, Georgia and obtained her bachelor's degree in communications from Florida State University. She was a member of Delta Gamma sorority.

Since debuting on Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat in 2006, Brown competed in seven additional Challenges. In her debut challenge, filmed in November 2005, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, to the surprise of both the cast and the production company.[3] Her final season of The Challenge, Battle of the Exes II, aired in early 2015.

Reality television appearances[edit]

Fresh Meat was the twelfth season of Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Filmed in Australia, it featured two-player teams; each team had an alumnus of The Real World or Road Rules partnered with a newcomer to The Challenge (collectively known as "Fresh Meat") who was never part of one of the two aforementioned series. Brown was partnered with Road Rules alumnus Derrick Kosinski, and the pair finished in fourth place in the competition. Brown, who was just completing her treatment for cancer, went on to compete in The Duel. She took off her wig during one of the competitions, and this has been viewed as one of the most memorable and touching Challenge moments.[4][5][6]

Season Teammate Finish
12 Derrick Kosinski 4th place
13 4th place
15 Veterans Runner Up
17 4th place
18 Challengers 14th place
22 Chris "CT" Tamburello Runner Up
24 Aneesa Ferreira 4th place
26 Chris "CT" Tamburello 13th Place


Brown was an entertainment reporter and worked for the Associated Press, Sky Living, and Foxnews.com. She also blogged about her experiences battling cancer and thoughts on The Challenge for People.com and hosted the MTV.com special Surviving Cancer.[7]


The website MedGift was the brainchild of Diem. MedGift is a non-profit, web-based application that seeks to connect those in need with those who care. MedGift's objective is to help patients obtain support from family and friends while in treatment.[7] She was also a patient advocate, speaking and appearing on numerous television and online shows and conferences. Brown took part in the first Stand Up to Cancer telethon as well as other charitable efforts such as MTV's Restore the Shore telethon for Hurricane Sandy. She was chosen as one of the initial 100 groundbreaking women to be profiled on MAKERS.com in 2012.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Brown dated fellow Challenge castmember Chris "CT" Tamburello for over a year and a half after meeting on The Duel in 2006. Brown credited Tamburello for playing a role in her remission recovery and giving her confidence.[8] The couple competed on the same team on The Gauntlet III and were featured on the MTV documentary show MADE, on which Brown aspired to learn how to salsa dance to regain her confidence. Following their split, Brown and Tamburello competed on The Duel II as well as a team on Battle of the Exes and The Challenge: Battle of the Exes II — they were the runners-up in the final of the original Exes.[9]

Final years and death[edit]

In June 2012, after six years of remission, Brown's ovarian cancer returned. She delayed treatment to harvest eggs before undergoing surgery to remove her ovary and receiving chemotherapy treatments.[10] In an on-air interview with Brown, Dr. Drew Pinsky characterized the choice to delay treatment as "risky."[11] In 2013, Brown's cancer once again went into remission.[8] Brown ended chemotherapy in February 2013, and later competed in her seventh Challenge season, Rivals II, because she was told by doctors during her second bout with cancer that "seeing 2013 was not that likely."[12] Brown and her rival partner Aneesa Ferreira finished in fourth place.[13]

Brown was diagnosed with cancer for a third time in June 2014, but initially shared this information with only close friends.[14] Two months later (August 2014), while filming her eighth and final Challenge competition, Battle of the Exes II in Panama, Brown collapsed on set, and was immediately airlifted to a New York hospital, where doctors performed emergency surgery.[15][16] Though it was widely reported that she was diagnosed with colon cancer,[17][18][19] Brown stated that her ovarian cancer had metastasized to her colon and stomach.[20] Brown died on November 14, 2014.[21] She spent her final hours in the company of friends and family.[22][23]

Shortly after her death, it was revealed that Brown's age had been misrepresented to the public. Her family supported the false information by including an incorrect age on programs distributed at her funeral, but later her sister was quoted in a People[1] magazine article about the true facts as saying that Brown had felt that many years of her life were taken from her due to cancer and treatments, and that deducting two years was a response to those circumstances. Some media headlines and reports corrected her reported age at the time of her death in response to the later information.[24]

US Congressman Sean Duffy and various MTV alumni at the launch of Congressional Ovarian Cancer Caucus.


In 2015 former The Challenge contestant and United States Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, started the Ovarian Cancer Caucus alongside Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, an ovarian cancer survivor. In attendance were several other Challenge contestants, who came to honor Brown, whose death Duffy said “touched our MTV reality-TV family.” In attendance were Duffy along with his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy and The Real World: San Francisco castmate David “Puck” Rainey as well as Norman Korpi (The Real World: New York), Derrick Kosinski (Road Rules: X-Treme and Brown's Fresh Meat partner), and Laurel Stucky (Fresh Meat II).[25]


  1. ^ a b Tauber, Michelle (November 24, 2014). "The Truth About Diem Brown's Age". People. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  2. ^ Tauber, Michelle (November 20, 2014). "Watch Diem Brown's Heartbreaking Memorial Video". People. Archived from the original on March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2015. Alt URL
  3. ^ Erin Zammett (October 1, 2006). "Battling Cancer While the World Watches". Glamour.com. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
  4. ^ Murphy, Shuanna (August 23, 2014). "'The Challenge' Star Diem Brown Is Battling Cancer For The Third Time". MTV News. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  5. ^ Bucksbaum, Sydney (November 14, 2014). "Diem Brown's Most Inspiring Moments on The Challenge". E! Online. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "Diem Brown, 32, dies after brave battle with cancer". AOL. November 14, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "MTV Star Diem Brown Dead at 32". Rolling Stone. November 14, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Brown, Diem (September 5, 2013). "Diem Brown: I'm Ready to Have a Partner in Life". People. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  9. ^ "The Challenge: Battle Of The Exes' Finale: Who Braved The Blizzard On The Mountain To Win? (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. March 29, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  10. ^ "MTV reality star Diem Brown chooses to delay cancer treatment to preserve eggs". Fox News. July 19, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  11. ^ "Dr. Drew (Transcript)". CNN. June 21, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  12. ^ McKay, Hollie (May 31, 2013). "EXCLUSIVE: Diem Brown defies cancer odds to compete in MTV's 'The Challenge'". Fox News. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  13. ^ Ossad, Jordana (November 14, 2014). "Diem Brown, 'Challenge' Star, Dies After Brave Cancer Battle". MTV News. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  14. ^ Vick, Megan (January 20, 2015). "'Battle of the Exes II': Diem Brown knew she was sick". zap2it. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  15. ^ Webber, Stephanie; Peros, Jennifer (August 23, 2014). "Diem Brown of MTV's The Challenge Is Battling Cancer For the Third Time". Us Weekly. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  16. ^ Tauber, Michelle (September 8, 2014). "Diem Brown's Third Cancer Battle Fighting for Her Life—again". People. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  17. ^ Tan, Michelle (August 23, 2014). "Diem Brown Diagnosed with Colon Cancer". People. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  18. ^ Mink, Casey (January 21, 2015). "Diem Brown Knew She Had Colon Cancer Before 'The Challenge'". Hollywood Life. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  19. ^ Harrison, Lily (September 30, 2014). "Diem Brown Speaks About Latest Cancer Battle: I'm Really Looking Forward to Having One Painless, Fun Day". E! Online. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  20. ^ Takeda, Allison (August 26, 2014). "Diem Brown Opens Up About Fighting Cancer for a Third Time: I'm "Touched" by "Outpouring of Support"". Us Weekly. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  21. ^ Rothman, Michael (November 14, 2014). "The Remarkable Thing That Happened After Diem Brown's Death". ABC News. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  22. ^ Boardman, Madeline; Peros, Jennifer (November 14, 2014). "Diem Brown Dead: MTV Challenge Star Dies After Cancer Battle". Us Weekly. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  23. ^ Tauber, Michelle (November 14, 2014). "Diem Brown Dies at 32". People. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  24. ^ "Correction: Obit-Diem Brown story". Associated Press. November 28, 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-11-17.
  25. ^ Heil, Emily (September 29, 2015). "Rep. Sean Duffy hosts a 'Real World' reunion on Capitol Hill". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2015.

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