LONDON — Sally Brampton, the British writer, novelist and editor, has died, according to friends.
Brampton, 60, committed suicide on Tuesday near her home by the sea in East Sussex, on the south coast of England.
For the past 16 years she had suffered from depression, and in 2009 published “Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression,” in which she discusses the many stigmas surrounding the disease.
The title refers to the words of Sir Winston Churchill, who described his own depression as a “black dog.”
Over the years, Brampton wrote regularly and with great candor about her mental health issues, hospitals stints and multiple suicide attempts. She also wrote about her passion for gardening, self-respect, finding joy in the ordinary and her love of the seaside.
She had regular columns in the British version of Psychologies magazine and Victoria Health online, and had in the past penned an advice column for The Sunday Times of London. Her latest sex and relationships Q&A feature for The Daily Mail was published on Monday.
Brampton began her freelance career after serving at some of the country’s top publications, including Vogue, Elle, Red and The Observer.
After studying fashion at Central Saint Martins, she won a talent contest in 1979 and began writing for British Vogue, where she would later assist Liz Tilberis, when the latter was fashion editor.
She later became fashion editor of The Observer, the Sunday newspaper, and was the launch editor of British Elle. After five years she left the magazine world to focus on her fiction writing, publishing the four novels “Lovesick,” “Concerning Lily,” “Love, Always,” and “Good Grief.” After a 10-year hiatus from magazines, she took the helm of Elle’s sister publication Red.
In a 2011 editorial in Psychologies, the former editor Louise Chunn, Brampton’s deputy at Elle, said they were working “in the halcyon days of Eighties media, and Sally — kitted out in Alaïa or Joseph — was at the forefront. We were in and out of Soho’s watering holes like jack-in-the-boxes, but Sally also wanted to create a magazine of substance.”
As recently as last month, Brampton’s social media activity was robust and funny. She shared a series of photos of a disappointing Airbnb apartment during a recent trip to Amsterdam, and was promoting the digital versions of “Concerning Lily” and “Love, Always,” which had just became available on Amazon.
One of her tweets joked about the number of towns and villages that bore her name; “I had no idea there were so many dwellings, hamlets, villages and towns in the world called Brampton. Most follow me. I am so common,” she wrote.
Friends and former colleagues began paying tribute to Brampton on social media on Wednesday.
“You were so funny, sincere and hugely talented, climbing in the Eighties, from being Liz Tilberis’ fashion assistant at Vogue, to becoming the brilliant inaugural editor in chief of British Elle. Rest in peace my dear Sally, your legacy will live on” wrote Sam McKnight on Instagram. The hair stylist posted a picture of the first cover of British Elle, from November 1985 featuring Yasmin Le Bon.
The novelist Tony Parsons wrote: “It’s easy to be nice to people doing well. Sally Brampton — maybe more than anyone I ever met — held out a hand to the people who were down.”
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former director of communications and strategy, said on Twitter that Brampton “fought so hard to stay alive,” and also fought for those “who don’t get depression, to understand it.” Campbell has also been outspoken about his own battle with depression.
Lisa Markwell, editor of the Independent on Sunday, posted a picture of a group of women in a jacuzzi with the caption: “Sally Brampton was the most brilliant editor. Just found this: An Elle editorial meeting in the jacuzzi? Why Not!”
Brampton is survived by her daughter Molly Powell and two brothers. Funeral arrangements have not yet been set.