On April 23 the “The Bachelorette” family suffered a loss, when upcoming contestant Eric Hill passed away after a paragliding accident. The ABC reality dating show released a statement yesterday following Hill’s tragic passing, and now series creator Mike Fleiss is speaking out about how his death will impact Andi Dorfman’s season.
“We’re all just devastated,” Fleiss revealed to E! News. “He was such a vibrant young dude. He was. It’s tragic. He was such a young guy who lived life to the fullest. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it. I’m still in shock. We’re all in shock. This transcends everything, certainly a television show.”
Eric Hill was an extreme-sports enthusiast and world traveler. Starting a website called Go With Eric: The Global Odyssey in February 2013, the 32-year-old was aiming to document his goal of setting the world travel record of visiting all 195 U.N.-recognized countries in less than three years, three months and six days.
He took a break from his project to compete for Andi Dorfman’s heart on the upcoming season of “The Bachelorette.” As his “Go With Eric” Facebook page revealed in late March, “he is on a different kind of adventure (some of you may have already heard) for another month.”
Eric Hill won the coveted first one-on-one date with Andi but was eventually eliminated from the competition down the line. He was not involved with filming the ABC series when his paragliding accident occurred near Point of the Mountain in Draper, Utah.
Hill’s canopy had collapsed at approximately 15 to 20 feet in the air. The 32-year-old was knocked unconscious from the fall and required a rescue team to carry down 100 to 150 feet down the mountain. He was brought by medical helicopter to the University of Salt Lake City hospital, where he was placed in a medically induced coma. Hill’s sister, Karen Tracy, confirmed his death on her Facebook page on Wednesday, April 23.
Fleiss told E! News that the show plans on handling the situation as delicately as possible, but that the first priority is Hill’s family.
“We’re going to try to be as sensitive as possible,” he explained. “It’s a bizarre predicament that we never expected to be in, but our problems aren’t important. It’s about his family now. My heart goes out to them. I pray for them and my staff, they’re just wrecked.”
“Bachelorette” host Chris Harrison took to Twitter on Wednesday to offer his condolences.
“On behalf of all of us at ‘The Bachelor’ our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Eric Hill,” Harrison tweeted. “He will be missed.”
Andi Dorfman’s season of “The Bachelorette” will premiere on ABC on May 19. A YouCaring.com donations page was set up to help support Eric Hill’s family.