Ryan Harrison Leone

Date of Birth

August 3, 1985

Date of Death

July 2, 2022

City of Death

Sun Valley, CA

Ryan Harrison Leone passed away suddenly at Pacifica Hospital in Sun Valley, CA on July 2,2022.

Ryan was born in Framingham, Massachusetts on August 3, 1985, the only child of Diane and Frank Leone. He spent his first four years in neighboring Sudbury.

Ryan moved with his family to Santa Barbara in 1989. He attended Monte Vista Elementary School, Marymount Middle school (now the Riviera Ridge School), and Santa Barbara High School.

Ryan had an idyllic childhood. He loved books of all types and was a movie devotee from the age of three. Even at three he could recite long passages from his then favorite movie Ghostbusters. He began writing as a hobby and at the age of nine won first prize in a youth writing contest sponsored by Barnes and Noble.

Ryan loved to travel and traveled extensively throughout the United States and beyond during his youth. At the age of 15 he even travelled to Taipei and Beijing.

He was a devoted animal lover, especially dogs. He had two labs, Bogie (aka Humphrey Bogart Leone) and Brava, and, currently, a nine-month-old German Shepard named Cubby.

The last 22 years of Ryan’s life were compromised by drug addiction. Although he fought his addiction gamely, long periods of sobriety were intertwined with periods of use. Between the ages of 15 and 34, Ryan spent a cumulative eight years incarcerated, all for non-violent drug related violations.

During one such prison term Ryan wrote a novel entitled “Wasting Talent.” Self-published, the book has sold approximately 400,000 copies and provided Ryan with considerable international renown.

In recent years Ryan turned his experiences as a user and inmate into a large YouTube and Patreon presence, attracting tens of thousands of subscribers. Many subscribers have credited Ryan with helping them manage their own addictions, which was Ryan’s primary objective.

Ryan established several non-profits dedicated to providing more widespread availability of Narcan, used to treat opioid overuse and to address prison reform issues.

At the time of his passing, Ryan had numerous projects near or at completion. His second novel, “Anti-Heroes” is complete and in the editing phase, a documentary of Ryan’s life, “Idiot Savant: the Tortured Life of Ryan Leone,” is ready for release, and his screenplay, “Florida,” co-written by actor Nick Stahl, is in negotiation for sale.

Those who knew Ryan valued his incredible creativity, storytelling ability, commitment to social justice, sense of humor, loyalty, sensitivity to those less fortunate, and inherent kindness. He was devoted to his domestic partner, Karina Franco, and as father of their two lovely children.

Ryan is survived by his parents Frank H. Leone and Diane M. Leone of Santa Barbara, his partner Karina Franco, and two sons, Nikko Gatsby Leone, age 4, and Weiland Sparrow Leone, age 11 months, all of Northridge.

A memorial celebration of Ryan’s life is scheduled for Saturday, July 16, at the Unity Church, 227 East Arrellaga, in Santa Barbara at 2:00 pm. followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Ryan’s foundation, Paul’s Project at 114 Magnolia Court, Mountain Home, Arkansas 72653.


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