A man who was featured on a reality television series died suddenly Saturday at 26, MTV News reports. The story says Michael Fortunato, who was seen on MTV’s "Catfish" show, died from a pulmonary embolism.
"An autopsy has yet to be released, but Mike’s younger sister, Gena, confirmed the death to MTV News Monday night. A spokesperson for the Farmington, Connecticut, chief medical examiner’s office told MTV News that Fortunato died at Hartford Hospital as a result of a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis," the story reports.
Fortunato was featured in the "Ashley and Mike" episode from the show’s second season, when he met 20-year-old Ashley Sawyer for the first time after talking online for years.
An MTV spokesperson released a statement saying: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Michael Fortunato. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."
"Sawyer, who also opened up about his death, said Mike texted her early Saturday morning saying he was considering going to the hospital, but later wrote that he changed his mind," the story reports.
The report adds: "His sister Gena, 21, tells MTV News that Fortunato left his Connecticut workplace early to drive himself to the hospital, but swerved and hit a fence en route. When the paramedics arrived at the scene they transported him to the hospital for treatment. Two hours later, Gena said she got the call from her mom that Mike had died."
Gena said 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."
Sawyer expressed similar sentiments, saying: "He would give anybody the last shirt he had — anything. He would put his life on hold just to make sure other people moved forward. He always put people first."