For nine years, Suzanne Whang was a mainstay of HGTV, hosting House Hunters and its spinoff, House Hunters International. She passed away from breast cancer on September 17, 2019, at age 56.
Her partner, Jeff Vezain, announced on Facebook that he was with her at the time of her death. He wrote, “For thirteen years she confronted cancer with courage, humor, determination and optimism.”
“She was immensely encouraged by the love of her family, friends and those she had yet to meet,” the musician continued. “Your kind, loving messages always lifted her spirits. I know she would prefer that her life be celebrated, as opposed to her passing mourned, but I also know how vehemently she disagreed with anyone being told, ‘Don’t cry.’ So…cry if you will. I’ve been crying a LOT! And laughing…and everything in between.”
Whang was also an actress, comedian, podcast host and author. She was best known for her role on the HGTV classics from its inception until 2008, for more than 400 episodes reported The New York Times.
According to the outlet, she was first diagnosed in the fall of 2006 but was cancer-free five years later. Her agent Eddie Culbertson told the publication her cancer returned in October 2018.
Whang’s Friends Rallied Around Her After Her Diagnosis
Whang opened up about her cancer with friends after becoming $500,000 in debt. She told The New York Times, “I found that everyone who I thought was my friend really was.”
Among those friends was actress Vanessa Marcil. The two became close after Whang’s role as Polly Nguyen on Las Vegas.
“We were sleeping on cots in the hospital with her, and the doctor said she had six months to live,” Marcil told the publication in 2013.
Marcil would go on to be her maid of honor during Whang’s second wedding to Jay Nickerson. The New York Times reported the couple split in 2015. She eventually started a relationship with Vezain.
HGTV Released a Statement Mourning Whang’s Death
Following her death, HGTV released a statement on their Facebook page.
“Suzanne Whang, original host of House Hunters,” the channel wrote alongside a photo of the star. “Suzanne was warm, funny and kind with a distinctive voice that made everyone feel at home.”
The statement continued, “Our HGTV family mourns her loss and wishes to express deepest condolences to her friends, fans and family who knew and loved her.”
HGTV was not alone in their mourning.
Among the mourners was former Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron. He tweeted, “#RIP my bold, brilliant, hilarious friend @suzannewhang” along with a photo of the former co-stars on Breakfast Time.
A fellow comedian, Sarah Colonna also wrote on Twitter, “Suzanne was so kind and so funny. RIP #SuzanneWhang.”
My Big Story podcast host Christopher Swan added, “The wonderfully funny and kind @SuzanneWhang has died. I am grateful that I got to know her over the last couple of years. She was a warrior, fierce in love and kindness! You’ll be missed.”