Mike Thalassitis dead at 26

17 March 2019, 07:24 | Updated: 17 March 2019, 08:06

Mike Thalassitis

Former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis has died, his management has confirmed.

It's understood the 26 year-old was found in woodland near his home in Essex.

He found fame on the 2017 series of the show and was a semi-professional footballer - having played for Chelmsford City and Cambridge United after starting his football career with Stevenage FC.

Several reality TV stars posted tributes to Thalassitis after news of his death was reported.

Fellow Love Island contestant Chris Hughes tweeted:

"Every inch of my heart goes out to his family & friends. A good guy, taken far, far to soon."

The Only Way Is Essex star Ferne McCann posted: "So so so so sad. Mike you absolute gent. I have no words. My heart and soul and love goes out to his friends & family. Too young. RIP."

Alex Bowen and Rachel Fenton, who both also appeared on Love Island, tweeted their respects.

Fenton tweeted: "I'm lost for words. My heart breaks for your family RIP @MikeThalassitis."

Bowen wrote: "I cant get my head round this RIP brother."

Shocked and saddened

Stevenage FC, for whom Thalassitis began his football career, tweeted:

"Everybody at #StevenageFC is shocked & saddened to hear the tragic news about former player Michael Thalassitis. Our sincerest condolences go to his family & friends."

Footballer Joel Byrom, who played with Thalassitis at Stevenage, tweeted:

"Shocked and gutted to hear about this. Such a top lad coming through at Stevenage. RIP Thala."

Love Island host Caroline Flack dubbed Thalassitis a "total gentleman".

She said: "Mike... you were a total gentleman... I won't forget that ... it's so sad ...you will be missed. RIP."

Fellow Love Island contestant Olivia Atwood posted on Instagram: "Literally don't know what to say. Another one gone too young. Thinking of mike's family and friends at the horrendous time. you will be missed terribly."

Thalassitis gained notoriety on the show for opting to pair with Atwood, despite the fact she was in a relationship with Chris Hughes.

Bafta award-winning actress Sheridan Smith said Thalassitis' death should be a "wake up call".

She said: "This should be a massive wake up call, I feel sick, reach out, sometimes to the most confident friend. we can only learn & try to change"

A spokesman for ITV, which produces Love Island, said:

"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."

Reality television star Emily Atack asked fans to look out for their friends.

She said: "Mike Thalassitis. 26 years old. I didn't know him personally, but my heart sincerely goes out to all who knew and loved him. Hold your mates close."