Sad news to report, Catfish fans: Mike Fortunato, who appeared on the MTV show’s second season, died Saturday of a pulmonary embolism in his Connecticut hometown.
Speaking with MTV News, Fortunato’s sister Gena confirmed the news adding, “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.”
Catfish fans will remember Mike from the double-Catfish episode, where he and online girlfriend Ashley Sawyer both sent fake or enhanced photos to each other. But while the episode ended with uncertainty, Sawyer insists the two were moving forward in their relationship, even planning on spending New Years together. She also spoke to MTV News saying that Mike was, “The most honest, loyal person I’d ever met in my life.”
An autopsy has yet to be released, but according to both Gena and Sawyer, Mike had been complaining of pain and was planning on seeking treatment. When he finally decided to drive himself to the hospital, he swerved and hit a fence. Paramedics arrived on the scene to transport him to a nearby emergency room, but two hours later, Mike was pronounced dead.
An MTV spokesperson commented on the news saying, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Michael Fortunato. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
Nev Schulman, the man behind the lens on Catfish, also released a statement via twitter:
I didnt know him well, but feel lucky to have known him at all. A great guy & event better friend. He will be missed. http://t.co/DQNZqugRhV
— Nev Schulman (@NevSchulman) October 15, 2013
Our hearts go out to Mike’s family and friends. For more him passing, click over to MTV.com.
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