They heart Diem! MTV paid tribute to the late Diem Brown with a touching special on Dec. 9, three weeks after the reality star died at age 32 following a long battle with cancer.
Hosted by TJ Lavin, the We <3 Diem special showcased the many sides of Brown's personality: Diem the Fighter, Diem the Lover, Diem the Life of the Party. Clips of her on past seasons of The Challenge were interspersed with remembrances from her costars, including Paula Meronek, Cara Maria Sorbello, Wes Bergmann, and Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio.
"Diem Brown was much more than just a cast member to us here at MTV," a title card at the beginning of the special read. "With her indomitable spirit, not to mention her dazzling smile, she became part of our family."
That family includes longtime fans of The Challenge, who no doubt remember the first time Brown, bald from chemo treatments for her ovarian cancer, shed her wig on The Duel. "That moment is like the most powerful moment to me in Challenge history," Sorbello said of the 2006 highlight.
"She took [the wig] off, and to be honest, I think she looked damn good," Meronek recalled. "I liked it way better than any wig she had. They should make a Diem wig of short hair."
The Duel was notable for another reason, too — it's where Brown first fell in love with her on-again, off-again boyfriend CT Tamburello. "The CT-Diem drama is like a soap opera rerun," Meronek quipped. "Because you know what's gonna happen, but you're gonna watch it anyway."
Fans did indeed watch it, again and again. Brown's tumultuous romance with Tamburello played out on multiple seasons of The Challenge, and went through so many phases that even those closest to them weren't always sure where they stood. As Devenanzio put it, "Relationships don't get any more turbulent than the CT-Diem saga."
That said, no one could deny their bond. "Every good girl wants to tame the bad boy. But in this case, she didn't even have to tame him," Sorbello recalled of the couple. "He just had to lay his eyes on her, and that was it. He was hers."
He wasn't the only one, though. Brown captivated costars and fans alike with her seemingly unshakable confidence and fun-loving attitude, the latter of which earned her the nickname "Diem in the PM," a playful reference to her party-girl persona.
"There's not a single thing about her that I don't look up to," Bergmann shared on We <3 Diem. Added Devenanzio: "Of all the people I've known, all the guys I've seen compete…I can honestly say that Diem is the strongest person I've ever met."
The special ended with messages to Brown from her costars, some of whom got choked up as they talked. "You make me laugh, and you frustrate the s–t out of me, and you are one of the most hardheaded, stubborn, fabulous, amazing people," fellow Challenge alum Aneesa Ferreira said, wiping away tears.
"You've been such an inspiration to me and so many people," she continued. "I don't even think you how many people's lives you've touched by just being, by just existing, by fighting and being humble."