“The Biggest Loser” lost a beloved member of its family last week. Damien Gurganious, who competed on Season 7 of the NBC series, died on Nov. 24 from the sudden onset of a rare autoimmune disease that caused bleeding in his brain, according to US Weekly. Following his death, fellow “Biggest Loser” alums rallied on social media to show support for the 38-year-old reality-TV star and his family.
Gurganious competed on the series in 2009 with his then-fiancée, Nicole Brewer, on the second “Couples” season of the show. The pair were eliminated in week three, but married shortly after the show ended, both fit and healthy.
Nicole Brewer Gurganious posted on her Facebook page following her husband’s death, saying, “All of you who knew Damien can attest to his generous and loving spirit, his outgoing and gregarious personality, and his caring and compassionate nature. Damien always desired to bring out the best in those around him by offering encouragement, support and love, often couched in his own hilarious and sage adages.”
Many other alums of “The Biggest Loser” responded to the tragedy on Twitter. Some of the stars including those who competed with Gurganious, and others who only knew him as part of the show’s extended family.
Carla Triplett, who competed with Gurganious on Season 7, said:
My Friend, My Brother, My Buddy, My Biggest Loser Castmate Damien Gurganious was called home to see… http://t.co/y01bz0XgwB
— Carla Triplett (@CarlaTriplett) December 1, 2014
Coleen Skeaback, who competed on Season 6, said:
Damien was one of the funniest, most kind hearted people I was blessed to know. Going to miss you pal. #biggestloser
— BiggestLoser'sColeen (@ColeenSkeabeck) December 2, 2014
Anna Wright, who competed on Season 10, said:
— Anna Wright (@AllAboutAnna) November 27, 2014
Kim Nielsen, the Season 13 runner-up, said:
Damien was one of my Biggest Loser brothers. Although we had never met, we are all family. Please give what you... http://t.co/4qo1KhAEyV
— Kim Nielsen (@KimBL13) December 1, 2014
"The Biggest Loser" official Twitter page released this statement:
— The Biggest Loser (@biggestlosernbc) December 4, 2014
“The Biggest Loser” will pay tribute to Gurganious with an “in memoriam” card to follow the Dec. 11 episode of the show. A charity fund has also been created in Gurganious’ honor.
“The Biggest Loser” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.