After 23-year-old adult film actress August Ames passed away on 5 December following a suspected suicide, speculation has been growing about the role that depression may have played in her death.

Her older brother, James Grabowski, has now told the Sun Online that he blames online bullies for his sister's death.

"I want my sister's death to be recognised as a serious issue - bullying is not OK," he said. "It cost me my baby sister's life.

"I will do what I can to be a voice for Mercedes [August's real name] but right now my family and I need to be left alone to grieve - we have lost a loved one."

While the official cause of her death has not yet been confirmed, Ames had received severe criticism on Twitter over the weekend after refusing to complete a scene with a man because he'd previously starred in gay porn, saying: "I do homework for my body".

Many slammed her for being homophobic, but she had denied the claims profusely - saying her comments were not meant to be malicious. Ames' final tweet, posted on Tuesday, then simply said: "fuck y'all".

After the news of her death circulated, James, who lives in Canada, said he was upset that a tribute he had posted to his private Facebook page had been reposted on the internet.

He said: "I didn't want people switching my words around - it was supposed to be a private post.

"I just need to be alone and have some time to deal with this."

August's husband and director Kevin Moore wrote: "She was the kindest person I ever knew and she meant the world to me.

"Please leave this as a private family matter in this difficult time."

According to Hollywood Life, friends close to August have also claimed that she had been battling depression, and that online bullying may have played some part in her passing.

Her death has forced the world to look at the potential impact of online bullying on social media - particularly within the adult film industry.

Adult performer Ashley Downs also told LADbible that there's a lot that the industry can do to help vulnerable people.

"The industry itself is one big, money-making machine and it's easy for the vulnerable to get swallowed up," she said.

"Some young girls come into the job thinking it's going to be easy to be rich and famous, when in reality it's hard work, and you have to be strong physically and mentally."

Ashley continued: "Inside the industry all we can do as performers is try and support our friends and colleagues. There are online forums where you can discuss, and coffee mornings set up to go and chat with other people working in any aspect of the adult Industry.

"Nobody should be discriminated against because of age, size, race or sexual preference. There is room for everyone and we should celebrate this."

'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do. MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Mental Health Foundation

Featured Image Credit: PA

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