10/16/2013 11:11 am ET Updated Oct 17, 2013

Michael Fortunato Dead: MTV 'Catfish' Subject Dies At 26

A subject on the MTV online dating series "Catfish" has died at the age of 26, MTV announced Tuesday.

Michael Fortunato died Saturday, Oct. 12 in Hartford, Conn., from a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis, MTV News reported. He was en route to the hospital when he crashed his car into a fence. Paramedics arrived on the scene and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead hours later.

On Tuesday's episode of "Catfish," hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph made an announcement about Fortunato's sudden death, offering their condolences. Schulman also tweeted: "I didnt know him well, but feel lucky to have known him at all. A great guy & event better friend. He will be missed."

MTV posted a message to the official "Catfish" Facebook page about the news.

Fortunato was featured on Season 2 of the MTV series in the episode "Ashley and Mike," which documented his first in-person meeting with Ashley Sawyer, with whom he had a seven-year online relationship. The episode was a double "catfish," because both Fortunato and Sawyer were tricking each other. He was sending her photos of another man, while she was sending him Photoshopped images of herself. At the end of the episode, they revealed they had stayed in touch.

Sawyer told MTV News they were "very much in love" and "moving forward" with their relationship at the time of his death.



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