Love Island 2017 contestant Mike Thalassitis has been found dead – leading to an outpouring of tributes from friends and fans shocked by the unexpected news.
The 26-year-old’s body was discovered in woods near his Essex home on Friday – police are yet to confirm any further details surrounding the death.
In a statement released from Love Island producers ITV, a spokesman said: “Everyone at ITV2 and Love Island are shocked and saddened by this terrible news.
“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Mike’s family and friends at this very sad time.”
Fellow reality star Montana Brown, who also appeared on the 2017 series of Love Island, told the BBC: “Mike was so misunderstood – on television he was known as playing the ladies and everyone had this perception that he was this classic lad that didn’t have feelings.
“I can honestly say, Mike was thoughtful, caring, and so fiercely loyal to his friends and family and really would do anything for them.
“I am absolutely in shock of the news. In fact I don’t even quite believe it yet as I spoke to him yesterday.”
Other contestants from the same series also issued tributes to Mike, who also played professional football before finding fame on Love Island.
Rachel Fenton tweeted: “I’m lost for words. My heart breaks for your family RIP Mike Thalassitis.”
I’m lost for words. My heart breaks for your family ❤️ RIP @MikeThalassitis
— Rachel Fenton (@RachelFenton_) March 16, 2019
Kem Cetinay posted: “Such heartbreaking news. My thoughts go out to all of Mikes (sic) friends and family”
Such heartbreaking news. My thoughts go out to all of Mikes friends and family 💔
— Kem (@KemCetinay) March 16, 2019
It is not the first time tragedy has struck a former Love Island star 2016 contestant Sophie Gradon was found dead at her Northumberland home last June.
The former Miss Newcastle’s mum Deborah also took to social media to post her condolences to Mike and his family, tweeting: “To Mike Thalassitis and his bereft family. Thinking of you, wishing you hope in the midst of sorrow, comfort in the midst of pain. Love in your darkest hours. I’m walking the same road as the inconsolable mother of Sophie Gradon.”