‘The Challenge’ Alum Opens Up on Loss, Says Her Grief Is ‘So Overwhelming’

Funeral flowers

Getty Funeral flowers

On Friday, June 18, Jemmye Carroll marked what would have been her ex-boyfriend Ryan Knight’s 35th birthday with a series of photos and a tribute to “The Challenge” star, who died seven years ago. Carroll opened up about her sadness at his death and the difficulty of that day, writing on her Instagram Story that her grief was “so overwhelming.”

Carroll and Knight, who originally met on “The Real World: New Orleans” in 2010 and began dating on the show, both made the leap to “The Challenge” where fans saw the ups and downs of their relationship. Knight’s final season on the show was “Battle of the Exes II,” where he was paired up with Carroll, but the reality star died at 28 before the season aired.

On Friday, Carroll shared a photo of her and Knight at the beach which she captioned, “You are so missed Ryan.” She added, “Grief comes in waves & today it’s so overwhelming I can’t even find words to celebrate Knight in the way he deserve. I feel so angry for being this sad on his bday but @corimarie said it best to me just now.. ‘You usually just pretend you’re okay but your mind/body is not letting you this time.’ I needed that gentle reminder that it’s ok to not always be ok.”

Jemmye Carroll Ryan Knight

InstagramJemmye Carroll’s Instagram Story about Ryan Knight

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Carroll Also Shared Photos & Wrote a Tribute to Her Friend & Ex

Carroll also posted a photo on Instagram of herself celebrating Knight’s birthday and thanked one of her supporters for sending her “the most thoughtful gift I have ever received from a stranger.” She said she received a box of clothes “that reminded him of Knight that he wanted me to have.”

Carroll revealed it included a jersey from Knight’s Wisconsin high school that “brought me to complete tears.” She said the number 24 was Knight’s jersey number in hockey but also the number of the reality stars’ “Real World” season, “The Real World: New Orleans.”

She thanked her fans for the love and supportive messages about Knight on his birthday. “Y’all already know what to do tonight to celebrate what would have been his 35th bday, all of the 7&7s,” she concluded, referencing the highball cocktail made from Seagram’s Seven Crown whiskey and 7 Up.


Knight Died on November 27, 2014, & an Autopsy Determined the Cause of Death Was an Accidental Overdose

Knight appeared on three seasons of “The Challenge” after his stint on “The Real World,” starting with “Battle of the Seasons” in 2012, followed by “Rivals II” and “Battle of the Exes II.” His death came just after filming ended for “Battle of the Exes II” and only a couple of weeks after the death of another “Challenge” star, Diem Brown.

Knight was found “unconscious and not breathing” at a friend’s home in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the morning after he went out with friends, a Kenosha Police Department press release indicated. “Lifesaving efforts by friends and the Kenosha Paramedics were unsuccessful,” it said, and an autopsy later revealed that the reality star died of an accidental overdose.

According to TMZ, the autopsy found that Knight had methadone (a heroin substitute), painkiller tramadol, cocaine and Xanax in his system along with high levels of alcohol. The day of his death, Carroll tweeted, “Words will never be enough to justify the connection we shared and the pain I will forever feel. RIP @Knight_MTV.”

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