RIP Jeremy Ruehlemann: Death of NY model announced by childhood friend

Bruno Cooke January 23, 2023
RIP Jeremy Ruehlemann: Death of NY model announced by childhood friend
Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

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Gianni Simpson, who was a friend of Jeremy Ruehlemann’s when both were in their teenage years, has announced the death of the New York-based Soul Artist model on Facebook.

They reportedly met when they were ages 15 and 17 respectively.

Ruehlemann was a successful model with international representation. His Instagram page currently has over 70K followers.

His most recent high profile professional outing was for Atelier Cillian’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection presentation at New York Fashion Week, last September. 

Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Childhood friend of Jeremy Ruehlemann’s announces model’s death

Gianni Simpson wrote, on Facebook, that he has been “trying to gather” his thoughts and “what even to say,” after hearing news that his childhood friend Jeremy Ruehlemann had died.

They met when they were 15 and 17, although Simpson doesn’t say which of them was the older.

“We bonded over feeling like our parents couldn’t deal with us as trouble teenagers,” he writes, “and sent us both away for four weeks to OTC.”

OTC stands for Odyssey Teen Camp. It’s an organization that runs summer camp programs for teens in Massachusetts. Gianni writes that he and Jeremy were “inseparable” during their four weeks there. They bonded over music, sports, fashion and tattoos: “What Gianni liked, Jerm liked, and what Jerm liked, Gianni liked.”

“I love you forever,” he signs off in his Facebook tribute. “And the news of hearing you gone really broke my heart. You’ll forever be in my heart.”

What have others said about the news?

Simpson’s social media post is the closest thing there currently is to an official announcement from the family of Jeremy Ruehlemann.

Responding to it, others who went to the same OTC program have been checking in with him, and sending prayers for Ruehlemann.

One comments that they were “so pure and innocent” 10 or so years ago. “I am so sorry to hear your lost your dearest friend,” another writes. “I know this pain. Reach out if you need to.”

“This is a beautiful tribute,” a third user writes in a comment. “What a crew in that photo! Loved you all. You were all such amazing teens and it’s such heartbreaking news. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

Tributes are coming in thick and fast on Instagram too

Jeremy Ruehlemann’s most recent Instagram post, from just two days ago, has been inundated with broken heart emojis and messages of “RIP” from friends and those who follow his modelling career.

“Rest in peace Jeremy,” writes one. “I will never forget you and your kind heart.” 

“Far too young,” says another. “He had only just begun his life… Very sad.”

Others bid him well, and note that it has “always been a pleasure” to know Ruehlemann. And a New York-based tattoo artist who goes by Ette appears to have already tattooed their arm by way of tribute to him. They call Ruehlemann their “twin.”

Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

How old was Jeremy Ruehlemann at time of death?

Either 26 or 27. When GQ profiled Ruehlemann, among other young models, for its August 2019 guide to “being whoever you want,” he was 24.

Two and a half years later, he is either 26 or 27, at the time of his reported passing.

His hometown at the time was Mahwah, in New Jersey. The magazine quoted him as saying, at the time, that to him, modelling “isn’t about being attractive.”

Rather, it’s about the challenge of developing a role: “I like when people make me look different. Looking handsome is boring to me at this point in my modeling career, you know?”

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.