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Real Housewives star Lauri Peterson announces heartbreaking death of her son, 35

Josh, 35, had been battling drug addiction for years 

Lauri Peterson attends the Beach Bunny Swimwear Flagship grand opening party at Beach Bunny Swimwear boutique on May 7, 2009 in Newport Beach, California
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
7 April 2024
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Lauri Peterson, a former Real Housewives of Orange County star, has announced the tragic death of her son Josh, who died on March 31 at the age of 35. Lauri shared the news on Instagram alongside a series of beautiful pictures of Josh throughout his life, and with his daughter Kennady, whom Lauri adopted due to his drug addiction.

In the post, Lauri thanked those who had made an impact on Josh's life and supported Lauri through this journey. 

Lauri Peterson's son Josh© Instagram
Lauri Peterson's son Josh died on March 31

"It is with a shattered heart that I write this post to let you know that my sweet Josh left this earth Easter Sunday. No one can ever prepare you for this feeling of such deep loss," she wrote. 

"Every fiber in my body hurts. Josh fought every single day for most of his adult life, for his life, but this past Sunday, the challenge was too great."

Josh kisses his mom Lauri on the cheek on her wedding day© Instagram
Josh kisses his mom Lauri on the cheek on her wedding day

Lauri continued: "Not everyone understands those suffering from substance abuse disorder, but I am forever grateful for your understanding and the impact you made on his life. I also thank those who have supported me through this journey and offering kind words of encouragement by sharing their stories of living with substance abuse disorder and the many parents that have shared their stories over the years with me about the children they have sadly lost due to this illness."

Lauri shared that Josh "received the most joy, pride and purpose through his daughter Kennady and watching her grow and thrive over the years," and wrote that she prayed that he had now "found the peace you deserve". 

Kennady is now in the fifth grade, and lives with Lauri and her husband George, whom she married in 2007.

Lauri Peterson's son Josh with his daughter Kennady© Instagram
Lauri Peterson's son Josh with his daughter Kennady

Over the years, Josh had been in the headlines for various legal troubles, including most recent in 2022 when he was found in possession of fentanyl and methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. 

He had spent four years in prison for attempted murder after shooting a man named Daniel Lopez outside of a sober living home in 2016.  Daniel survived the attack. 

George Peterson and Lauri Waring in season 2 of Real Housewives of Orange County© Bravo
George Peterson and Lauri Waring in season 2 of Real Housewives of Orange County

Lauri always insisted that Josh had been set up by police. In 2018 she wrote on social media: "After keeping silent for nearly 2 years in regards to my son's arrest, I am going to begin laying out the facts of his case and how easily it is to be falsely accused!" 

Lauri quit the Real Housewives franchise in 2008 after Josh,  who had struggled with a heroin addiction, relapsed and was sentenced to eight months in jail.

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