Bachelorette Andi Dorfman’s whirlwind hometown date week took an emotional twist, as she and the four remaining men learned at the end of the week that contestant Eric Hill tragically died in a paragliding accident.
Cast members are barred from TV and other communication with the outside world during filming, so host Chris Harrison broke the news to them at his home on April 23.
As they walked into his house, Andi and the guys looked confused and upset.
“I know this is a little unorthodox,” Chris said. “You all know Eric Hill. He a couple of days ago was in Utah paragliding and was in a serious accident. We knew he was hurt bad, but we just didn’t know how bad. We learned this morning that he passed away. Obviously I’m really sorry to be the one to have to tell you. But as soon as we found out, I definitely wanted every one of you guys to know as fast as we could.”
Everyone started to break down and Marcus Grodd had to leave the room—Andi followed him outside.
“His poor family,” she said sobbing. “There’s nothing really to say. He’s so young.”
“It’s the last thing you’d ever expect,” Marcus said choking up.
Andi convinced him to go back inside the house with her.
“As tough as it is, I’m glad were all doing this together,” she said through tears to Chris and the men. “It just puts in perspective all of this—there’s so much more to all of this. There’s life, people have lives here.”
In an awkward, but touching moment, producers came out from behind the scenes and put their cameras down to go comfort Andi and the men.
From a camera placed down in the next room, viewers saw Andi sobbing as she hugged a producer.
“I kicked him out,” she said hysterically, recalling the night Eric was eliminated from the show. “I can’t believe that was my last conversation with him.”
During the week leading up to the tragic news, Andi traveled across the U.S. to meet the four remaining men’s families.
Andi went to a brewery in Milwaukee with Nick Viall before meeting his 10 siblings. Everyone had questions for Andi including Nick’s youngest sister Bella, who adorably wrote down her questions on a piece of paper.
Andi ventured to farmer Chris Soules’ hometown of Arlington, Iowa—population 758.
Chris let Andi drive a tractor through a field and hired a plane to fly by carrying a sign that said “Chris loves Andi” during a picnic. Aw.
Andi had an athletic day in Josh Murray’s hometown of Tampa, Fla.
Josh, who used to play for the Milwaukee Brewers’s minor league team, took Andi to a baseball field for batting practice. The two then met up with Josh’s family, including little brother Aaron who was just drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs. The family played a game of pick-up football in the backyard.
In a tribute to their first date, Marcus hilariously reenacted his sailor stripper routine for Andi in his hometown of Dallas.
Twenty-four hours after Chris Harrison broke the news, he sat down with Andi at the Bachelor mansion before her rose ceremony.
“There’s a part of me that feels guilty having happiness out of this,” she said. “I don’t know how you do that.”
“Do you have clarity?” Chris asked. “Are you worried about making a mistake this week?”
“There’s a part of me that doesn’t even know how to comprehend everything that’s happening,” Andi said. “I don’t know how to bear the responsibility.”
“It’s going to be different tonight but we’re all here for each other,” Chris said.
Andi struggled through the rose ceremony, having to leave the room at the beginning to compose herself. She ultimately eliminated Marcus.
She, Nick, Chris Soules and Josh are off to the Dominican Republic for fantasy suite week.
“The Bachelorette” airs Monday night on ABC.