RALEIGH, NC — Lynette Hardaway, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump whose death sparked widespread speculation about its cause, died earlier this month of a heart condition, according to a death certificate obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
Known by the stage name “Diamond” from the conservative political commentary duo Diamond and Silk, Hardaway, 51, died on January 8 of heart disease caused by chronic high blood pressure.
Hardaway and her sister, Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, rose to internet stardom as black women who ardently supported Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. After making several campaign appearances with the former president, the two parlayed their fame into landing roles. of regular commentators on Fox News. Their promotion of coronavirus falsehoods eventually got them written off, but they landed on the far-right cable and digital media platform Newsmax.
Hardaway’s cause of death, which was not released by the family, had become the subject of widespread speculation. A stream of social media users suggested that Covid-19 was to blame.
Many of the posts were based on an unsourced and since-deleted online report that claimed Hardaway had been hospitalized with Covid-19. Both diamond and silk vehemently denied that the virus had put Hardaway in the hospital.
Covid-19 was not listed as a cause or contributing factor on his death certificate, which was provided to AP by the Hoke County Register of Deeds and signed by a local doctor. No autopsy was performed.
A memorial service held in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and streamed online Saturday renewed speculation as Richardson suggested his sister’s death was somehow related to the covid-19 vaccine. She hinted that Hardaway may have been «poisoned» by another person who had been vaccinated, amplifying the false notion that recipients can affect those around them.
At the memorial, Richardson mentioned people who «die suddenly,» a reference that has become shorthand among some anti-vaccine activists for deaths they say were caused by Covid-19 vaccines, despite that studies show that vaccines are safe and effective.
Joined on stage at the memorial by Trump, Richardson said her sister died after returning home to North Carolina from a relative’s birthday celebration. Richardson noticed that her sister looked strange and Hardaway suddenly said, «I can’t breathe,» Richardson recalled. She and her husband performed CPR while waiting for emergency services.