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‘Catfish’ Alum Michael Fortunato Dead at 26

Fortunato, who appeared on a September episode of the MTV reality series, died after suffering a pulmonary embolism

Michael Fortunato, who appeared on a recent episode of the MTV reality series “Catfish,” died in Hartford, Conn., on Saturday. He was 26.

While an autopsy hasn’t been released yet, the Farmington, Conn., chief medical examiner’s office said that he died at Hartford Hospital after suffering a pulmonary embolism that resulted from deep vein thrombosis, MTV News reports. Obesity and cardiomyopathy also contributed to Fortunato’s death.

Fortunato appeared on the “Ashley and Mike” episode of the series, which premiered in September and featured Fortunato’s first meeting with Ashley Sawyer for the first time following a seven-year online relationship.

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“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Michael Fortunato,” an MTV spokesperson said in a statement. “Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

Sawyer told MTV News that Fortunato had texted her on Saturday, saying that he was considering a trip to the hospital, but he later decided otherwise.

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According to Fortunato’s sister, he eventually decided to drive himself to the hospital but swerved and crashed into a fence. Paramedics transported him to the hospital, where he later died.