Reality TV star Mike Thalassitis has died aged 26, his management has confirmed.
The semi-professional footballer found fame on the third season of Love Island in 2017 and later on the fourth season of Celebs Go Dating.
Born in Edmonton, the 26-year-old had played for a range of teams including St Albans, Chelmsford and Welling United before taking part in Love Island.
Chelmsford tweeted: “The Club are saddened to hear the news of the passing of former #Clarets striker Mike Thalassitis. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends at this time.”
Describing himself as “tall, dark and handsome”, Thalassitis vowed not to be a “villain” on the ITV2 show Love Island when he entered in week two.
However, he earned the nickname “Muggy Mike” from islander Chris Hughes after attracting Olivia Atwood, who was linked to Hughes at the time.
Hughes was among the first to pay tribute to his former TV rival, tweeting: “Every inch of my heart goes out to his family & friends. A good guy, taken far, far to soon.”
Hughes also urged people to remember him as “Mike” rather than his former nickname, commenting: “Please stop brandishing that.”
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. 💔— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes_22)March 16, 2019
Another former contestant, Dom Lever, wrote: “I’m shocked at the news!! me and Mike Thalassitis may not have seen eye to eye but he was a top guy.”
Tyla Rosie Carr said: “I can’t believe the call I’ve just had. Mike, you were love by all the Love island family. You’ll be missed so much. All my love goes out to your friends and family. Shocked.”
Jonny Mitchell, who became friends with Thalassitis after appearing on Love Island with him, said in a post on Instagram he was “heartbroken” by the news.
He said: “I genuinely can’t believe what I’m seeing here. My boy from the villa and one of my best mates from the show coming out. An absolute hero and a legend and someone I personally looked up to, always full of so much positivity and charisma.
“One of the best people I’ve ever known taken from us far too soon, I’m heartbroken and can’t put into words how much I’m gonna miss you bro!”
He later added: “I can not stress this enough. Life is tough for everyone and if you are going through a down patch please please talk to someone. I know personally it’s hard to open up but it’s the best thing you can do.”
A spokesman for ITV, which produces Love Island, 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."
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