Mike Thalassitis. Picture: Instagram

"Love Island" star Mike Thalassitis has been found dead in a forest near his hometown of Essex.

It has been suggested that Mike was at the time struggling to come to terms with the death of his grandmother and had recently been dealing with debt. The reality TV star had moved in with the 94-year-old after her deteriorating health meant she needed a full-time carer, reports Daily Mail.

The shock of his death comes just months after another contestant on the ITV show, Sophie Gradon, was found dead at her home in Ponteland near Newcastle. 

Mike, 26, who gained fame on the match-making reality show, was affectionately given the name ‘Muggy Mike’ after unsuccessfully trying to steal another contestant’s girlfriend.

Last night, a friend of the reality star confirmed the death, saying: 'We are in absolute shock.'

The former League Two footballer had a successful playing career before appearing on season three of "Love Island" in 2017.

Last night, tributes were flooding in for the star on social media. Former "Love Island" contestant Chris Hughes tweeted: ‘Every inch of my heart goes out to his family and friends. A good guy, taken far, far too soon.’

His death also comes just months after his best friend Danny Cutts died on Christmas Eve.

Mike, who comes from a Cypriot family, had recently moved in with his grandmother, 94, because she was in need of a full-time carer. Love Island 2018 winner Jack Fincham, who is dating fellow winner Dani Dyer, said: ‘My thoughts are with Mike’s family. A lovely bloke gone far too soon, rest in peace mate.’

Dom Lever, one of Mike’s co-stars, last night condemned the show’s aftercare, saying: "You get a psychological evaluation before and after you go on the show but hands down once you are done. You don’t get any support unless you’re number one."

Mail On Sunday