Charlie Balducci, whose wedding to wife Sabrina was featured on a 2002 episode of MTV‘s True Life, has died at the age of 44, according to TMZ. He was found unresponsive in his bed this past Saturday, July 25.
Here’s what you need to know about Balducci’s life and death:
Balducci’s Death Was Unexpected
Balducci’s mother told TMZ that his death was unexpected because he was not previously ill. He was last seen around 2 a.m. Saturday morning, then found around 9 p.m. on his bed. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Balducci’s cause of death is still pending, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office told Page Six.
Balducci is survived by his wife Sabrina Balducci. Their wedding day and the four months leading up to the nuptials were the subject of an episode of True Life called “I’m Getting Married” in 2002. The two remained married and had two sons together, ages 17 and 19.
At the time of the show, people didn’t understand what the couple was doing. Charlie Balducci told 20/20 in a 2013 interview that they saw themselves as pioneers of reality TV because the genre was really in its infancy.
“‘They’re filming your wedding? And they’re putting it on TV?’” said Sabrina Balducci of what their friends and family thought. “No one could believe, you know, they didn’t understand what it was.”
Balducci Was Part of an Infamous Reality TV Rant
During his time on True Life, Balducci was caught on camera calling a limo driver who was running late “a piece of sh*t” and vowing to “hunt [him] down like cattle” and gut him. When it aired, everyone was shocked, especially his wife, who had had no idea about the incident. But he later told 20/20 that it was just the stress of filming TV and he’s not really like that.
“In defense of myself, I really did what any Staten Islander would have done in that situation,” said Balducci.
His wife added, “Picture somebody in your house, following you at every event you did, every place you went, for four months. You’ve got a newborn baby, you’re trying to plan a wedding.”
“She had her freak-outs, too,” Charlie Balducci concluded. “It’s just that my freak-out trumped everything else.”
When 20/20 interviewed them in 2013, they were still living on Staten Island. Sabrina Balducci was working in a salon and Charlie Balducci was working with a nonprofit called NYC Arts Cypher, an organization “committed to promoting positive values through arts and entertainment programs, projects, and events,” focusing on “youth in our communities; particularly at-risk youth who have difficulty working in an educational setting.”
Charlie Balducci’s parting advice for couples about to walk down the aisle was, “Don’t look at the wedding as so much of a day, but, like, the springboard for a marriage, you know? If you guys can’t plan a wedding together, you got to start to look at the marriage.”
In a 2017 interview with the podcast Reality Life with Kate Casey, the Balduccis said they were still happily married and they gushed about their sons.
“[Our oldest] is beautiful, he’s a perfect fusion of me and her. He’s a straight-A student at one of the most difficult schools on Staten Island,” said Charlie Balducci. “And then we have another beautiful son who’s 14. We had some issues with him as he came into the world, but this kid has shown strength beyond — you cannot even gauge the strength of this child.”