Ian Thorpe’s former longtime boyfriend Ryan Channing has died suddenly in Bali at the age of 32.
Channing, a model, lawyer and skincare brand designer from Perth, Western Australia, was rushed to a local hospital on Sunday.
Channing was based in Australia but regularly traveled to the Indonesian vacation island and Los Angeles on business.
A friend told News Corp that Channing, a successful businessman, had “been battling health issues” for some time.
Channing was Thorpe’s first long-term boyfriend after coming out as gay.
The couple were in an on-again-off-again relationship for four years until they split for good in 2019.
Ian Thorpe’s (right) ex-boyfriend Ryan Channing (left) has died suddenly in Bali
A friend said Channing had “been battling health issues” for some time. Pictured right is his last message taken from the hospital when he had Covid
Thorpe and Channing have both advocated for equality and gay marriage in Australia
Channing posted a photo eight weeks ago from St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney saying ‘Covid made me GEWD (good)’, after he tested positive for the virus.
However, it is unclear whether the virus or its aftermath may have played a role in his sudden death.
A rep for Thorpe said their thoughts are with Ryan’s family.
Channing most recently ran skincare company The Blaq Group, which he founded and owns the brands Blaq, Flight Mode and Generation Skin.
Last July, he revealed that he was filming a pilot for a new reality show on Netflix in Los Angeles, called The Skintrepreneurs, which would follow his business activities.
Channing and Thorpe started dating in 2015, with the couple earlier revealing they were hoping to have a baby together through a surrogate in the US.
Channing was Thorpe’s first official boyfriend after coming out as gay in an interview with Michael Parkinson after years of speculation
Channing and the swimming champion were together on and off for four years before calling it quits in mid-June
Channing worked as a lawyer and model and owned her own skincare brand
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF RYAN CHANNING
2015: Ryan Channing dates Australian Olympic champion Ian Thorpe
In a 2016 interview, Channing described how easy it was for him to come out to his parents.
“I was very lucky with my experience because I never really had to date,” he told Guys Like U.
“I used to bring my gay friends to our family home and after a while my mum started noticing that my friends were gay and one day she asked me if I was like them.
“I have to admit I was a little anxious about the question, but when she asked the question I just said ‘yes’.”
2015-2017: Channing works as a lawyer in Sydney and Paris
November 2016: Channing featured his own skincare company Blaq before founding The Blaq Group in 2018
He now sells gender-neutral products made from natural ingredients all over the world
Early 2019: Thorpe and Channing reveal they hope to have a baby through a surrogate in the US
June 2019: Channing reveals the couple have separated. He was Thorpe’s first boyfriend after coming out in a 2014 interview
2021: Channing makes Australia’s Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs list at 32
May 2022: Friends confirm Channing died in Bali
He was best known to most Australians for his relationship with Thorpe, one of the country’s greatest Olympians.
At one point in their relationship, Channing and Thorpe were actively considering having a child through surrogacy.
When discussing their plans to have a baby in 2019, Channing told Daily Mail Australia: “Becoming parents is something both Ian and I would love to achieve.
“Unfortunately, Australian laws are tough on same-sex men when it comes to surrogacy – California state law has really advanced in this area, making it the best option legally.”
“Something I’d like to see progressed more in Australia so that same-sex couples don’t have to travel overseas to achieve their family goals.”
Channing founded her skincare company in 2018, with the aim of providing gender-neutral products that are all Australian-made and natural.
He was dubbed one of Australia’s most influential e-commerce entrepreneurs when he expanded his business to the United States and Europe.
Channing was a successful businessman and revealed last year that he was working on a pilot for a new reality TV show
In an interview with Dynamic company in 2020, Channing said her modeling work taught her the importance of self-care.
“I wanted the products to be accessible to everyone, inclusive of both sexes, because we all face the same skin problem in one way or another,” he said.
He attributed his success to “pure restlessness and not giving up because a door said no”.
A year after his split from Thorpe, Channing revealed in June 2020 that he was engaged to engineer Leevon Baptiste.
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