Taylor and Russell Armstrong
08/17/2011 at 03:30 PM EDT
When Russell Armstrong failed to return cell phone calls and text messages, his worried, estranged wife Taylor went to the friend's Los Angeles house where he was staying, a source tells PEOPLE.
It was there, on Monday night, that Russell was found hanging
. The 47-year-old businessman was pronounced dead minutes later by paramedics.
While Taylor was at the Mulholland Drive home at the time, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
star didn't actually find the body, according to the source, who says she spent time there afterwards and is devastated.
L.A. County Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter confirms to PEOPLE, "His body was discovered by a friend. I don't know if it was the owner of the house, but it was not the wife [who found him]."
Russell's death came a month after Taylor, 40, filed for divorce
and went public with allegations that he physically abused her. Russell was also facing severe financial problems
and was being sued for $1.5 million.
Reporting by ULRICA WIHLBORG and KEN LEE