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, although police are not treating it as suspicious.
“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.
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. Montana Brown, who appeared on the same “Love Island” season as Thalassitis, wrote in an Instagram post on Saturday that the 26-year-old was in a “dark place” a few months ago.
“Now I know you were in a dark place a few months back and I thought you were past it and that you were on the up. I got you to buy The Magic, you wrote down your gratitudes, you had the pictures of your family in your car to remind you to be grateful for them. I just don’t know how I didn’t notice… I am absolutely heart broken that I couldn’t help you,” Brown wrote in her caption.
She also said she was angry at Thalassitis for “doing this because you are so loved by so many people and I just wish you picked up the phone so we could’ve sorted this out. This didn’t need to happen.”
“I can’t imagine how much pain you must have been in to do this, and the fact that you went through this on your own breaks my heart. I’m so so sorry I couldn’t do more to help you. I have so much love for you Mike and I will never forget you. Sleep tight darling and I miss you so much already,” she wrote.
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.
“‘Muggy Mike’ was your stage name and let’s face it, the ladies did fall at your feet BUT everyone had this impression of you and you were literally the opposite you were one of a kind,” Brown wrote.
“Love Island” contestant Chris Hughes tweeted Saturday: “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.”
“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.
“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.”