"We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic passing of our friend, Eric Hill. Eric inspired us every day with his passion, his courage and his adventurous spirit, and for that we are very thankful. On behalf of our cast, crew and producers, we send our love, our thoughts and our prayers to Eric's family during this difficult time," The Bachelorette producers said in a Wednesday statement obtained by E! News.
"We're all extremely saddened by this news. We enjoyed our time with Eric on the show," Harrison told E! News. "My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this difficult time. He will be missed."
Hill was a California native who lived in Salt Lake City, UT. According to Unified Fire Authority, Hill's parachute collapsed when he was between 15 to 20 feet in the air near Point of the Mountain in Draper, UT, on Sunday afternoon, causing him to crash into the mountainside, CBS' KUTV-TV affiliate in Salt Lake City reported.
Hill reportedly experienced turbulence while in the air and the velocity at which he hit the mountainside was enough to cause trauma. He had been taken to a hospital via helicopter in critical condition after the accident and was in a coma leading up to his passing.
Brooks Forester, a former The Bachelorette contestant -- who memorably quit the show's ninth season and dumped Desiree Hartsock after hometown dates -- also told the website, "[Eric] was always on an adventure, always looking to build memories and meet new friends along the way. I'll miss having the opportunity to go on those adventures with him."
Dorfman picked Hill for her first one-on-one date of the season, according to Reality Steve, which is typically an indication he was an early frontrunner to win her heart. However, the paragliding accident reportedly took place once Hill returned home and therefore did not occur while he was filming the show, which is still in production.
A production source admitted The Bachelorette is still figuring out how to proceed following Hill's tragic death. The series premieres Monday, May 19 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC.
"This is really the first time something terrible has happened between time of filming and airing the season, so the network will have to figure out how to handle, and if it merits somehow editing the show differently," the source told E! News.
"Eric shared his final journey with us this morning as all his immediate family were able to be at his side when he passed away," Hill's sister Karen Tracy wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday.
"Thank you to all of your love and support and prayers and fasting. It was amazing to be with so many of his friends and family yesterday in the hospital who came to express their love for Eric."
(Photo credit ABC)
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