Tributes as Love Island’s Mike Thalassitis dies aged 26
Former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis has died aged 26.
The reality television star and semi-professional footballer died on Friday, his management confirmed.
Thalassitis, a Cypriot, was born in Edmonton in London and played for clubs including St Albans and Chelmsford.
He found fame on the 2017 series of the ITV competitive dating show, earning the nickname "Muggy Mike" after partnering with fellow islander Chris Hughes' girlfriend Olivia Attwood.
Thalassitis also appeared on the reality show Celebs Go Dating in 2018.
Hughes was among those who paid tribute, urging people not to use the nickname.
He said: "His name wasn't Muggy Mike. Please stop brandishing that.
"His name was Mike Thalassitis, and every inch of my heart goes out to his family & friends. A good guy, taken far, far to soon."
Jonny Mitchell appeared on Love Island with Thalassitis, and the pair remained friends.
In a post to Instagram Mitchell said he was "heartbroken" by news of Thalassitis' death, hailing his "positivity and charisma".
He said: "I genuinely can't believe what I'm seeing here.
"My boy from the villa and one of my best mates from the show coming out. An absolute hero and a legend and someone I personally looked up to, always full of so much positivity and charisma.
"One of the best people I've ever known taken from us far too soon, I'm heartbroken and can't put into words how much I'm gonna miss you bro!"
Ferne McCann also paid tribute. The 28-year-old reality star – who appeared in The Only Way Is Essex from 2013 to 2016 – said: "so so so so sad. Mike you absolute gent.
"I have no words. My heart and soul and love goes out to his friends & family. Too young. RIP"
Calum Best, the son of footballer George Best and a former Celebrity Love Island contestant, described the news as "so sad".
He said: "Jesus that's so sad , rip mike . Way too young . Thoughts and prayers with his friends and family"
Thalassitis split from The Only Way Is Essex star Megan McKenna late last year.