Love Island viewers ‘in tears’ over touching tribute to Mike Thalassitis after tragic death
4 June 2019, 07:32 | Updated: 4 June 2019, 09:46
Following the first episode, ITV2 paid tribute to former star Mike Thalassitis who passed away earlier this year.
Following the highly anticipated launch of Love Island 2019, ITV2 bosses featured a touching tribute to former contestant Mike Thalassitis.
The 26-year-old starred on the 2017 series but was tragically found dead in a park near his home in Edmonton, North London, on March 15.
And at the end of Monday night’s first episode, the telly show tributed Mike by flashing up a picture of him alongside the words: “In loving memory of Mike Thalassitis 1993-2019.”
Viewers of the show were moved by the touching commemorative message, with many taking to Twitter after it was shown.
“Aww that tribute for Mike #LoveIsland,” said one follower, while another added: “A lovely tribute to Mr Mike Thalassitis well done #LoveIsland.”
“The thing for Mike at the end I’m crying #LoveIsland,” said another, while a fourth added: “Why did they have to put in memory of Mike at the end of that I've got all goosebumps and I'm crying now thanks #LoveIsland.”
Why did they have to put in memory of Mike at the end of that I've got all goosebumps and I'm crying now thanks #LoveIsland— G (@Geegarrett97) June 3, 2019
IM SORRY BUT THAT TRIBUTE TO MIKE MADE ME CRY!!!! #LoveIsland— ♡ J E S S I C A (@StitchMeUpBitch) June 4, 2019
Although some fans weren’t impressed with the tribute, with some claiming that show bosses should have put together a longer message.
“Is that genuinely all Mike got??? #loveisland,” asked one viewer.
Another tweeted: “Did they just do a throw-away 2 second tribute to Mike and the end of the show? Lol wow that is shocking wtf. #LoveIsland.”
And a third wrote: “They gave Mike 2 seconds after the credits? Disgusting #loveisland.”
Last year, Love Island also paid tribute to Islander Sophie Gradon after she took her her own life in June 2018.
This comes after ITV bosses reportedly changed their minds after initially deciding not to tribute Mike on the show.
A source told The Mirror: “Producers wanted to pay their respects to Mike and show his friends, family and fans that he was a part of the Love Island family and is missed deeply by everyone.
“It is a really difficult subject but they wanted to address it rather than sweep it under the carpet or pretend it hasn’t happened.”
After Mike’s heartbreaking death earlier this year, Love Island has faced a lot of criticism over their mental health screening.
But in response, ITV have announced some changes to the show’s aftercare.
A statement released by ITV said: "When something so awful happens it is natural to enter a period of soul-searching and ask whether anything could have been done to help avoid something so terrible happening," the ITV statement read.
"It is not for us to speculate on the reasons behind this tragedy and what is so heartbreaking is that we simply cannot know."
Addressing the backlash, ITV said the criticism "bears no relation" to the processes the company has had in place for islanders in the past.
"Our duty of care is a continuous and ongoing process for each Islander," ITV insisted. "This follows three key stages; pre-filming, filming, and aftercare.
"We work with both an independent GP and a psychological consultant to provide an assessment of the physical and mental health of each of the shortlisted cast members and their suitability for inclusion on the programme."
If you identify with the topics raised in this article, we encourage you to reach out to the Samaritans. You can call them for free on 116 123, or visit their website, www.samaritans.org.