Michael Fortunato, a 26-year-old who recently appeared on "Catfish," died suddenly in Hartford, Connecticut, this weekend from a pulmonary embolism.
"He was a little kid at heart -- a gentle giant," his sister, Gena, told MTV News. "He's somebody who put everybody before himself; everybody else came before him. The biggest heart that you’d ever meet."
Ashley Sawyer, whose online relationship with Fortunato was documented through Episode 10 of "Catfish," called him "the most honest, loyal person I'd ever met in my life." Sawyer and Fortunato didn't leave the show as an official couple, but she told MTV News they'd since fallen "very much in love" and were planning to spend New Year's Eve together.
Fans of the show remember Michael as an anomaly: a catfish with a heart of gold. Read what some had to say about his passing, and share your own reaction in the comments.
"I am sorry to hear of this sad tragedy. He seemed like somebody I would have liked to have been friends with." -- Brian B.
"That's heartbreaking. He seemed like such a genuine soul -- a good person with a lot of love to offer." -- Dayna G.
"I'm SO sad after reading this. Ever since I saw him on TV I had a crush on him. I even emailed Max and Nev to see if they could put me into contact with him. Prayers to his friends & family during this hard time." -- Jessica P.
"Wow, that is unexpected. Condolences to his loved ones." -- Mike H.
"He was such a sweetie on the episode. Bless his heart." -- Eva G.
@CatfishMTV Awww! He was such a sweetheart and those beautiful eyes. Prayers to his family and Ashley.
— Trisha Hargett Guy (@trishlawish) October 15, 2013
@CatfishMTV I hate to see this. He was so sweet.
— Mandi K (@TheMandiShow) October 15, 2013
Oh my gosh...so sad!! ???? "#Catfish's Michael Fortunato Dead At 26” http://t.co/waeFfL9ho9 via @MTVNews
— J. Smooth (@jsmooth07) October 15, 2013
"Mike was a good dude, you could tell. RIP brotha" -- Illest
"This is sad -- he was my favorite<3" -- Joy
"How tragic. Love and light to all who knew him. He seemed like a very shy and kind guy." -- Michelle
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