'Love Island' star Mike Thalassitis' death prompts past contestants to ask for 'help' with pressures of fame

Former "Love Island" and "Celebs Go Dating" contestant Mike Thalassitis was found dead over the weekend in Essex, England.

The reality TV star was only 26 years old and reportedly took his own life.

"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 is the production company behind “Love Island,” said in a statement.


According to a fellow contestant on the British reality TV show, Montana Brown, Thalassitis was in a "dark place" following the recent deaths of his grandmother and best friend.

"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 heartbroken that I couldn’t help you," Brown wrote on social media.


"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 added.

Several other contestants from Thalassitis's season of "Love Island" and previous seasons also took to social media to bring attention to the fact that he felt alone. Rykard Jenkins and Malin Andersson described how reality TV stardom is intense and there isn't a guidebook to how to handle the pressures.

Echoing their thoughts, former "Love Island" star Kady McDermot voiced that she believes the producers of reality shows need to help the contestants cope with fame after the show because being an "overnight" star can be challenging.

Another "Love Island" contestant from the 2016 season, Rachel Fenton, revealed she was only offered a "chat" about mental health when first entering the villa. “I hope this educates 'Love Island' producers to provide the necessary support to everyone who enters the show," she wrote. “You get a ‘chat’ with a mental health nurse before you enter the villa but that’s it. Not a single thing after you leave."

ITV told Variety in a statement that the contestants' mental and emotional health is very important to them. “We ensure that all of our contributors are able to access psychological support before, during and after appearing on the show,” it said. “The program will always provide ongoing support when needed and where appropriate.”

“We also discuss at length with all of our Islanders, before and after the show, how their lives might change and they have access to support and advice to help with this,” it added.

Thalassitis isn't the first "Love Island" contestant to die prematurely. Sophie Gradon, from the show's second season in 2016, was found dead at 32 years old in June 2018. It was reported her death was by suicide but her parents are disputing that and have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her passing.

Then, less than a month after Gradon's death, her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, was found dead in his Northumberland apartment. His cause of death is not yet known.