A young TikTok star with a full life and promising career ahead of him has been found dead.
Cooper Noriega was found dead in Los Angeles yesterday, and the circumstances of his death are a little bizarre. Just hours before he was found deceased, Noriega posted a video to TikTok about the possibility of dying young - a tragic juxtaposition that has left fans breathless with the suddenness of it all.
Cooper Found Dead in a Parking Lot
Fans were shocked Thursday to discover that their beloved influencer had died. 19-year-old Cooper Noriega made charming videos on TikTok, sometimes smiling and lip-syncing at the camera, sometimes dancing, often seen with friends.
Noriega's follower count on TikTok was just under 2M, and his contagious smile and face and neck tattoos made him as instantly recognizable as his playful mop of hair.
Noriega's body was found in the parking lot of a mall in Los Angeles on Thursday. Authorities who responded to the scene attempted to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful. Noriega was not in a vehicle when he was found.
No cause of death has been released, but foul play was not suspected. Noriega had posted in support of mental health help in the past.
Noriega's death was particularly shocking because just hours before his body was found, the TikToker shared a video to social media where he was lying his head on a pillow and looking blearily at the camera, with the caption, "Who else b thinking they gon d!€ young af" with a sweating smiley face.
Clearly, Noriega's instincts were spot on. The social media star had recently gone through a breakup with girlfriend Sabrina Quesada, although she says it was mutual.
Cooper had a significant following on Instagram and rubbed elbows with stars such as David Portnoy, appearing on Barstool Sports just last week.
Noriega would have turned 20 later this month, and had been working with End Overdose to spread awareness about overdose deaths and how to prevent them. The organization shared an image of Noriega to their social media, with the caption, "We are devastated to learn @cooper.noriega has passed away. I was speaking with him earlier this week. He volunteered to advocate for our organization and share harm reduction services with his community. He told me how he just wanted to make sure all of his friends were safe. We were literally in the process of packaging test strips and narcan for him to distribute, as he was planning a series of posts to advocate for the use of these tools to reverse and prevent overdose. Message from Theo Krzywicki Ceo End Overdose."
TikTokers Who Have Died Young - is it a Dangerous Occupation?
Unfortunately, TikTokers dying young is nothing new. Whether it's sudden fame that drives them to dangerous behavior or other tragedy, headlines for the deaths of young TikTokers coming with distressing frequency.
Here are some of the TikTokers who passed long before their time:
- Anthony Barajas: Nearing 1M followers on TikTok, Barajas was shot and killed during a screening of "The Forever Purge" movie. Barajas (19) and his companion at the screening (18) both died as a result of the shooting.
- Dazharia Shaffer: The 18 year old had 1.7M followers on TikTok and over 200K on Instagram. After her death, Shaffer's dad released a statement that suggested the teen died by suicide.
- Eliane Ferreira Siolin: Siolin's time on social media was just hitting its stride as she had amassed nearly 100K followers on TikTok. The 35-year-old was killed in a horrifying case of domestic violence by her husband, who shot her to death in front of their young child at a family barbecue.
- Timbo the Redneck: Timbo (18) was known for his stunts online and was gaining a huge following for his willingness to push the envelope. Tragically, Timbo fell victim to one of those stunts when he was thrown from the driver's side window of his vehicle and it crashed over him.
- Alexis Sharkey: The 26-year-old lifestyle and travel influencer was found dead on the side of the road in Houston, TX. Although her death was ruled strangulation, there is still a good deal of mystery surrounding the circumstances of her death.
- Ethan Peters: The 17-year-old beauty influencer was known for his style and kindness. Peter's cause of death wasn't released, but his father alluded to his struggle with addiction that may have been a factor.
Unfortunately, the list goes on. And now includes Noriega. While influencers often get targeted by criticism for the negative impact they can have in the lives of young viewers, they can also have extraordinarily positive impact.
When they die, fans often feel like they've lost a friend - certainly the case with Noriega, whose fans have flooded his page with messages of love and support for his family.