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Lynette Hardaway, Diamond of pro-Trump duo 'Diamond and Silk,' has died at 51

Lynnette Hardaway, left, and Rochelle Richardson, known as Diamond and Silk, speak at a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., in June 2020.
Sue Ogrocki
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AP
Lynnette Hardaway, left, and Rochelle Richardson, known as Diamond and Silk, speak at a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., in June 2020.

Lynette 'Diamond' Hardaway, better known as half of the MAGA duo "Diamond and Silk," has died at 51.

Her death was announced Monday night by the entertainers' verified social media accounts and by former president Donald Trump, prompting an outpouring of condolences from prominent conservative figures.

The pair's social media post mourned Hardaway as "a True Angel and Warrior Patriot for Freedom, Love and Humanity," and linked to an online fundraising page for a memorial ceremony that it said would be announced soon. It does not specify a cause of death.

"Diamond blazed a trail, founded on her passion and love for the entire race of humanity," it reads. "In this time of grief, please respect the privacy of Diamond's family but remember and celebrate the gift that she gave us all!"

Hardaway and her sister Rochelle 'Silk' Richardson rose to fame during the 2016 presidential election, when the self-described lifelong Democrats switched their party affiliation to vote for Trump and used their online platform to urge others to do the same.

The North Carolina-based vloggers billed themselves as "President Trump's most loyal supporters." He likewise embraced the two, who appeared onstage at his campaign rallies, attended his 2017 inauguration and visited him in the Oval Office during his presidency.

The pair amassed followers on social media but accused Facebook of suppressing their content, and in 2018 testified at a House Judiciary Committee hearing about alleged anti-Republican bias on the platform.

Hardaway and Richardson also became media contributors when Fox hired them in late 2018 to make videos for its subscription streaming service Fox Nation. They were criticized for using the platform to promote conspiracy theories at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — including that the U.S. death toll was being inflated to make Trump look bad — and the network terminated their contract in April 2020. Later that year they were given a weekend show on the conservative Newsmax TV network.

The duo alleged that race was part of their dismissal from Fox, as they wrote in their 2020 memoir Uprising: Who the Hell Said You Can't Ditch and Switch? — The Awakening of Diamond and Silk. And they retained the support of the president, who defended them in a series of tweets.

Then-president Donald Trump listens as Hardaway, left, and Richardson speak during a meeting in the White House Cabinet Room in February 2020.
Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Then-president Donald Trump listens as Hardaway, left, and Richardson speak during a meeting in the White House Cabinet Room in February 2020.

On Monday, Trump called Diamond's death "really bad news for Republicans and frankly, ALL Americans" in a post on Truth Social. He said she died at home in North Carolina with Silk by her side.

"There was no better TEAM anywhere, or at any time!" he wrote, adding that "our Magnificent Diamond ... will be greatly missed."

Trump also called her death "totally unexpected" but offered up a theory of his own: "probably her big and precious HEART just plain gave out."

Diamond and Silk's Twitter account asked for people to pray for Diamond in November, though it did not say why. The Daily Beast reported that Hardaway briefly returned to her online talk show in December and dismissed unverified reports that she had been hospitalized with COVID-19, before making her last appearance on the show on Dec. 15.

MyPillow CEO and longtime Trump supporter Mike Lindell, who hosts the video series, confirmed to The Daily Beast after Hardaway's death that she had been sick, without specifying an illness.

Hardaway's death is being mourned on social media by fans and high-profile conservatives, many of whom were involved in Trump's campaign or administration.

A Twitter account shared by former Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson and his wife called Diamond "an incredible person who truly cared about America ... and reminded people why America is so important and worth saving."

Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor, described the duo as "wonderful, beautiful women" and said Diamond will be missed.

And Roger Stone, a controversial Republican operative and Trump ally, shared several tweets mourning Diamond's death and celebrating her life. Among them was a video clip of them cracking up together during a show, which he called "Diamond and Silk's greatest moments."

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Rachel Treisman
Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.