'Bachelorette' Creator Mike Fleiss Reacts to Contestant's Death: 'We're All Devastated'
After tragedy rocked the cast and crew of The Bachelorette this week with the death of contestant Eric Hill in a paragliding accident, creator/executive producer Mike Fleiss addressed the difficult dilemma of how the ABC reality series is going to handle it moving forward.
"We're all just devastated. He was such a vibrant young dude. It's tragic," Fleiss told E! News while at the Tribeca Film Festival to premiere his documentary project, The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir.
"He was such a young guy who lived life to the fullest. I couldn't believe it when I heard. I'm still in shock. We're all in shock. This transcends everything, certainly a television show."
Hill, 32, suffered critical injuries on Sunday afternoon after his parachute collapsed while he was making a jump near Point of the Mountain in Draper, Utah, which was not a part of filming the ABC reality series. He went into a coma and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he passed away on Wednesday.
The upcoming 10th season of The Bachelorette features former Bachelor contestant Andi Dorfman's quest for love. Hill was a contestant in the upcoming season but reportedly had already been eliminated from the show. The series is still filming.
"We're going to try to be as sensitive as possible," Fleiss went on to explain. "It's a bizarre predicament that we never expected to be in, but our problems aren't important. It's about his family now. My heart goes out to them. I pray for them and my staff; they're just wrecked."
According to Hill's website, he was filming a documentary titled The Global Odyssey, which chronicles his attempt to visit all 195 U.N.-recognized countries in world record time.
The movie's Facebook page has a post about the accident: "Friends: Eric has been in a horrible paragliding accident and is currently in critical condition in a coma. Things are not looking good right now... please, all across the world, even if you're not a praying person, please pray for him. He needs your prayers more than ever."
A fundraising site called Live Like Eric has been established in his name to embrace the adventurous legacy and to raise money for his family.
The Bachelorette featuring Dorfman (who memorably dumped previous Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis during his season) is set to debut at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 19. Following its premiere, the show will move to its regular time slot at 8 p.m. on Mondays.