Quintana Roo Dunne: What Happened To Joan Didion Daughter? Death Cause An Alcoholism


Readers of Didion’s recent memoir about her daughter’s death, Blue Nights, may be forgiven for remaining perplexed about what killed Quintana Roo Dunne Michaels even after finishing the book.

Quintana, whom Didion referred to as Q, was a recently married New York-based photo editor in apparent good health in 2005. Unfortunately, she suffered from a long illness and died at 39.

New York, which profiled Didion just before the book’s November release, provides the most comprehensive account for what it’s worth.

“The sequence of events was shrouded in mystery,” the magazine writes. The “mysterious” illness began in December 2003, when

Quintana Roo Dunne: What Happened To Joan Didion Daughter?

Quintana Roo Dunne was born in New York City on March 3, 1966, and was adopted later.

Didion documents a nervous breakdown in the summer of 1968 in the title essay of The White Album.

She was diagnosed with an attack of vertigo and nausea after undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

Quintana Roo Dunne, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion on a patio overlooking the ocean, Malibu, 1976

— c. tancredi palma (@ctancpalm) August 20, 2020

In addition, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 

Didion revealed in her essay “In Bed” that she suffered from chronic migraines.

How Did Quintana Roo Dunne Died?

Two tragedies struck Didion in less than two years. On December 30, 2003, while their daughter Quintana Roo Dunne lay comatose in the ICU with septic shock caused by pneumonia, her husband died at the dinner table.

Didion postponed his funeral for about three months until Quintana was well enough to attend.

After visiting Los Angeles for her father’s funeral, Quintana fell at the airport, hit her head on the pavement, and suffered a significant hematoma, necessitating six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center.

Joan Didion pushes baby daughter Quintana Roo Dunne in a pram. John Gregory Dunne lends a hand.

— Gaddis’s Ghostcoat (@GhostTrenchcoat) April 1, 2020

Quintana died of acute pancreatitis on August 26, 2005, during Didion’s New York promotion for The Year of Magical Thinking, after making progress toward recovery in 2004. She was 39 years old.

Quintana Roo Dunne Daughter

Quintana Roo Dunne, Joan Didion’s adopted daughter, had frequent nightmares about “The Broken Man,” an evil repairman in a blue shirt with a Los Angeles Dodgers cap and “gleaming shoes” who told her in a deep voice, “I’m going to lock you here in the garage.”

Joan Didion is dead at 87. She established a distinctive voice in American fiction before turning to political reporting and screenplay writing. But it was California, her native state, that provided her with her richest material.

— New York Times Arts (@nytimesarts) December 23, 2021

Quintana died of acute pancreatitis at the age of 39 in 2005, only two years after the death of her adoptive father, writer John Gregory Dunne, the subject of “A Year of Magical Thinking.”

Didion is distraught over her parenting, Quintana’s recurring fear of abandonment, and a failed reunion with her biological family.

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