Mike Thalassitis, a former contestant on “Love Island” and “Celebs Go Dating,” was found dead Friday in his hometown of Essex, England, reports said. He was 26.
Thalassitis, who was also a former semi-professional soccer player before appearing on the reality dating show in 2017, was found dead near his home, Sky News reported. His cause of death was not released.
“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,” a spokesman for ITV, which produces “Love Island,” said in a statement.
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Thalassitis’ grandmother, who he cared for and lived with, reportedly died two days before the reality star was found dead. His best friend Danny Cutts also died on Christmas Eve, Sky News reported.
Thalassitis rose to fame in 2017 when he appeared on the popular British reality show. Although some fans knew him as his nickname “Muggy Mike,” contestants on Thalassitis’ season want fans to pay tribute to the 26-year-old by using his real name.
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“His name wasn’t Muggy Mike. Please stop brandishing that. His name was Mike Thalassitis, and every inch of my heart goes out to his family & friends. A good guy, taken far, far to soon,” “Love Island” contestant Chris Hughes tweeted Saturday.
“His name is Mike Thalassitis. All the articles how dare you not use his real name. This is horrendous. I’m in shock. Mike you are going to be sorely sorely missed. My heart is with your family. I’m in complete shock,” another contestant Olivia Bowen Buckland said.
Several other contestants on the show shared their tribute to Thalassitis, saying his sudden death was an “utter shock.”
“I am in utter shock. @MikeThalassitis you were one of the most genuine guy! I just can’t believe this! You’ll be missed so much you have no idea,” wrote Amber Davies, who appeared on the same season with Thalassitis.
“Love Island” host Caroline Flack wrote in an Instagram post, “Mike … you were a total gentleman … I won’t forget that … it’s so sad …you will be missed. RIP.”
Stevenage FC, a soccer team that Thalassitis was part of for part of his career, also paid tribute.
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“Everybody at Stevenage FC is shocked & saddened to hear the tragic news about former player Michael Thalassitis,” the team tweeted. “Our sincerest condolences go to his family & friends.”