CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article contained an error. A friend and colleague notified police about their concern on Tuesday evening.
Real estate agent and blogging pioneer Laurie A. Manny passed away Wednesday, according to close friends. She had been complaining of severe "salmonella-like" symptoms on Facebook shortly before she died, according to friends with access to her Facebook page.
Manny’s close friend, Colleen Kulikowski, together with a colleague of Manny’s, urged the police to check Manny’s home after she failed to respond to a phone call late Tuesday. Her cause of death will be determined by autopsy, Kulikowski said.
Manny had apparently resisted seeking medical care because she did not have health insurance, she added. "Laurie was an independent spirit, and no, she did not have health insurance. She just didn’t want to have the bill associated with going to the emergency room. If salmonella were involved it will be several weeks before those results will be back," she said.
Manny had been a real estate agent since 2001, according to state license records. Originally from the East Coast, Manny had been an agent in Long Beach, Calif., for the past seven years. She had been working as an agent and consultant at Main Street Realtors in Long Beach for the past two years, according to her LinkedIn profile, and headed The Laurie Manny Team.
She had been blogging since 2005 and, in 2006, was part of an initial group of four volunteer moderators (along with Kulikowski, Mark Flanders and Rich Jacobson) for the real estate social network ActiveRain. She also authored the LongBeachRealEstateHome.com blog and the lauriemanny.com blog, which together reached about 7,000 consumers daily, according to a blog profile.
"Real Estate is not a full-time job. It is a lifetime commitment," Manny wrote in her Trulia Voices profile.
Manny was a prolific writer on ActiveRain and was instrumental to its rapid growth in its formative period, Jacobson said.
"Laurie was a pioneer in social media circles and was one of the first real estate professionals to effectively incorporate blogging into her marketing efforts. She understood (search engine optimization) and how hyperlocal content could be leveraged to generate business leads and foster relationships with her readers," Jacobson said.
"Laurie Manny was a giant in the real estate blogosphere. She understood the Web instinctively and drove massive traffic to her real estate website before ‘SEO’ and ‘the long tail’ were familiar words to the real estate masses. She coached fellow bloggers generously, sharing secrets and helping many of the industry’s top bloggers attain success," said close friend and fellow early blogger Frances Flynn Thorsen
"I would trade all the top real estate ‘tech trainers’ and all they know for a marathon phone confab with ‘Queenie.’ Laurie Manny was spunky, sassy and unafraid. She was a pioneer, a leader and a teacher. Her passing is a profound loss to her family, her friends, the blogosphere and the real estate industry."
Manny was single and is survived by her parents, her brother Billy, her sister Patricia, and their children.
"Her family is reeling from the news and the overwhelming task ahead," Kulikowski said, adding that funeral arrangements could not be made until the coroner’s office had completed its work.
There will be services in both Long Island, where her family lives, and in Long Beach, Kulikowski said.
News of Manny’s death hits the real estate community after the death of real estate blogger and Inman News columnist Joseph Ferrara earlier this month. Bloggers around the real estate blogosphere offered their thoughts and memories of Manny.
"She was a dear friend of Joe Ferrara and to lose her right after him is a huge blow to the Realtor community. Ask (those Realtors) who she has touched — they will say that she was an amazing woman and we were all blessed to have had her in our life. She had a gift for bringing people together, for loving unconditionally, and brought joy into so many lives," Kulikowski said.
"She took blogging about real estate to another level — a level in which others either emulated or boldly tried to copy. Either way, her style and personality was one that deemed R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Thus, why I called her the ‘Blogging Diva.’ Her knowledge of her market, blogging technique and willingness to help others made her a beacon of light," said Realtor Ray Nellum in a blog post.
"This is so very sad. She was such an inspiration to us. Tough cookie and all, we learned so much from her. She will be truly missed. My heart goes out to her family," commented Lori Kim Polk, a home stager in Roseville, Calif., in an ActiveRain post.
Tina Merritt, a Virginia real estate agent, first met Manny virtually on ActiveRain and then in person at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco in 2008.
"Laurie Manny was a pioneer in the RE.net. She will be remembered as the gracious Queen of real estate blogging who was always willing and able to unselfishly share her wealth of knowledge with her peers. She will be truly missed," Merritt said.
"She touched many a blogger and many a life. I love you Laurie Manny!" said Jason Sardi, a mortgage consultant, in an ActiveRain post.