Updated: June 18, 3:40 p.m.

The death of Erica Kennedy has shocked the PR, fashion and journalism worlds, but while the brilliant and beautiful writer has been making headlines since her mysterious death, she was not quite a mainstream household name.

A former fashion consultant for the New York Daily News, Kennedy began her career as publicist for such top notch designers as Tommy Hilfiger. She chronicled her fashion and PR experience in articles like I Got Puff Daddy into His First Suit, in which she gleefully pokes holes in the facade of hip-hop glamour and celebrity with phrases like saying 'I don't know' doesn't come easily to those with male genitalia, especially rich black men who find themselves in unfamiliar environs.

Kennedy's edgy take on pop culture made her an inspirational figure to those like Demetria L. Lucas of Clutch magazine, who wrote about the blogger and author's achievements and influence on Monday. 

Erica was the writer who gave other writers hope. Most want to become an author, and while cranking out 2,500 magazine feature stories on deadline is par for the course, writing a book -- usually 75,000 to 90,000 words -- seems daunting, wrote Lucas.

Shocked fans, friends and colleagues responded with digital tributes when @BossLadyDani, Kennedy's cousin Danielle, tweeted on June 14, In loving memory of my cousin Erica Kennedy Johnson.

I found myself scrolling through Erica Kennedy's timeline and laughing, smiling and crying, read the blog Dr. Goddess. She was young, beautiful, talented, brilliant, all of that.

On Monday, Kennedy's family issued an official statement about her untimely death.

It is with great sadness that we announce that Erica Kennedy passed away in Miami Beach, Florida, last week. We are devastated by this incredible loss,  said  Sarah Robinson, Kennedy's aunt, in a statement published by The Root. Erica was bright, funny, talented, thoughtful and passionate. In her 42 years, she lived many lives as a fashion publicist, a journalist, a novelist, a blogger, a brand consultant, and a social media connector. But perhaps her most remarkable accomplishment was the indelible mark she has left on the lives of so many people across the globe.

We love Erica and, like her countless friends and colleagues, we will miss her. However, we ask that you respect our family's privacy during this very difficult time.

The grieving for Kennedy is compounded by the frustration of not knowing the cause of her death, which was not addressed in the family's statement. The 42-year-old was not known to have a serious illness and seemed to be in the prime of her life.  But some believe that Kennedy, who may have been struggling with depression, committed suicide. 

An article in Essence on Monday presumes that Kennedy indeed took her own life. The writer, Vanessa K. Bush, claims those who knew [Erica] best confirmed via Facebook that Kennedy had been suffering from depression.

But to those outside of her inner circle, Kennedy was an inspiring success story.

Kennedy was able to make the transition from journalist to author rather effortlessly. Her 2004 satirical novel, Bling, made its way onto the New York Times bestseller list, and mega producer Harvey Weinstein optioned the rights for a film adaptation. In 2009, she released Feminista, a witty take on a modern day journalist's quest to have it all. The book accumulated an impressive fan base, and The Root published a flattering analysis of the book's themes.

Over the last few years, the respected writer shared insightful musings via her blog at the Huffington Post. Her popular entries covered such topics as Jennifer Lopez's famous figure and its effect on pop culture, as well as her gripe with Oprah's Favorite Things segments, which she ridiculed for its insane hysteria around material acquisitions. She was also an avid Twitter user, whose 140-character quips earned her a place on Robert Ebert's list of top five favorite twits.

Upon hearing of her passing, the renowned film critic tweeted, The world is a lesser place.

One of Kennedy's major strengths was her ability to network and make connections in a cutthroat industry. One of her closest friends was Kimora Lee Simmons, who chose the writer to be the godmother of her two daughters.

My kids asking many questions about their auntie Erica ... Damn girl, damn ... RIP Erica Kennedy Johnson, tweeted the model. 

It is with great sadness that we announce that Erica Kennedy passed away in Miami Beach, Florida, last week. We are devastated by this incredible loss,  said  Sarah Robinson, Kennedy's aunt, in a statement. Erica was bright, funny, talented, thoughtful and passionate. In her 42 years, she lived many lives as a fashion publicist, a journalist, a novelist, a blogger, a brand consultant, and a social media connector. But perhaps her most remarkable accomplishment was the indelible mark she has left on the lives of so many people across the globe.

We love Erica and, like her countless friends and colleagues, we will miss her. However, we ask that you respect our family's privacy during this very difficult time.

Much of Kennedy's superior literary aptitude may be attributed to her education at both Sarah Lawrence and Oxford University. Her formidable schooling combined with her firsthand experiences in the world of high-end branding and public relations provided her with an inimitable voice -- one that was silenced much too soon.