MTV released the following statement: “MTV is deeply saddened to learn that Ashley Sawyer has passed away. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”
Sawyer appeared on the same season as Michael Fortunato. Both Sawyer and Fortunato had been “catfishing” each other for several months in the episode. Fortunato died of a pulmonary embolism at age 26, one month after their episode aired.
Sawyer’s sister Jessica Ross expressed her sadness over her loss.
“We had a great relationship,” Ross told MTV News. “I know she knows how much I loved her and she loved me, and I am so sad that she’s gone. She was so funny. She could make me laugh on my absolute worst day. She was just a really fun person to be around.”
“Catfish” co-host Max Joseph also expressed his condolences via social media.
“Shocked and saddened by the death of Ashley Sawyer. So sweet and kind. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family,” he tweeted.
Shocked and saddened by the death of Ashley Sawyer. So sweet and kind. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family. 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/fC6qG84gfC
— Max Joseph (@maxjoseph) May 2, 2016
Sawyer most recently appeared on a “Catfish” catch-up show where she revealed that she had been living in a sober facility and struggling with her drug addiction. Her sister confirmed that Sawyer was living alone at the time of death and had completed a recovery program.