This is tragic news. According to MTV, Mike Fortunato, best known for his appearance in an episode of Catfish this season, has passed away this weekend after suffering a pulmonary embolism.
Mike's episode, "Mike and Ashley," aired just last month, and saw him meeting a girl he had spoken to online for seven years, Ashley Sawyer. Though the two left their relationship hanging at the end of the episode, they both admitted to being in love with the other, and were planning to spend New Years together in Atlanta.
MTV revealed the news in a statement. Mike's sister, Gena, also spoke out about the tragedy:
"I don't even know where to start," Gena said, still clearly struck by the loss of her big brother. "He was a little kid at heart -- a gentle giant. He's somebody who put everybody before himself; everybody else came before him. The biggest heart that you'd ever meet."
According to Gena, Mike had been feeling ill during the weekend, and considered going to the hospital early Saturday morning, but ultimately decided against it and went to work instead. During work, he changed his mind and left to drive himself, but he got into an accident on the way—when paramedics arrived on the scene, they transported him to the hospital, where he died two hours later.
Sawyer also spoke out about the loss, saying that Mike was "the most honest, loyal person I'd ever met in my life."
Mike was 26.