Good Bones fans rallied around Mina Starsiak Hawk after she shared news of the death of her sister-in-law, Stefanie Hawk. The HGTV personality candidly opened up about processing her grief years after the tragedy.

Who Was Stefanie Hawk?

Stefanie was the sister of Mina’s husband, Steve Hawk. In his early 20s, Steve’s parents struggled with alcoholism.

“With them, it just got so bad at one point there was homelessness, multiple interventions, in and out of hospitals for my mom,” the personal trainer said during an August 2023 episode of the “Mina AF” podcast.

As a result, Steve took Stefanie in to live with him when she was 14 years old. Once their parents took the right steps toward recovery, Stefanie went back to live with them. In 2018, the siblings lost their mother, Sally Hawk, to stomach cancer. Six months later, their father, Richard Hawk, died after falling down the stairs.

Stefanie was working for Mina after the deaths of both of her parents. Mina and Steve admitted to seeing some changes in her demeanor and work habits.

“She started to have a pattern of behavior where every Monday and Tuesday she didn’t feel good, she wasn’t coming in, she was isolating, she wouldn’t let anyone into her house, she wouldn’t come to anything,” Steve explained. “She’d been having this isolating behavior for quite some time, but it had gotten significantly worse.”

What Happened to Stefanie Hawk?

On March 27, 2020, Mina announced Stefanie’s death on Instagram.

“There’s no easy way to share this. Yesterday we unexpectedly lost my sister, Stefanie Hawk,” she captioned the post. “She was such a bright light in all of our lives for such a long time. There is nothing to say that makes it easier or better, especially in this time where our access to loved ones and friends is so limited.”

Stefanie Hawk sits at table while on the computer
Courtesy of Mina Starsiak Hawk/Instagram

Mina asked her followers to make donations on Stefanie’s behalf to The Asher House, an animal rescue organization. The Two Chicks and a Hammer owner and her husband later revealed that Stefanie’s cause of death was ethanol poisoning.

“There were so many bottles,” Mina recalled of entering Stefanie’s home after her death. “Just seeing how the last however long of her life had been was so incredibly sad. And then the guilt with not being able to do something about it, like, ‘Well we should’ve gone to her house sooner. We should have made her go to rehab. We should’ve made her move in with us.’ But nobody knew.”

Stefanie’s death was a wake-up call for the couple, who decided to stop drinking alcohol. Steve has been sober for more than two years while Mina has only had a handful of drinks in that time span.

A few months after Stefanie’s passing, Mina and Steve welcomed their daughter, Charlotte. The pair are also parents to their eldest child, son Jack.

“Every time I look at [Charlotte], I see Stef, for better or for worse,” Mina reflected in a January 2021 Instagram post. “Some days it makes me cry and some days it’s the bright light in a really s–tty moment. Stef’s gone, but I see her every day … and for that, I am so grateful.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).