“MTV is deeply saddened to learn that Ashley Sawyer has passed away,” the network said in a statement. “Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”
Sawyer appeared in the 2013 “Ashley & Mike” episode of Catfish, the docuseries that brings together couples who’ve interacted solely through social media and the Internet. She contacted producers about finally meeting her seven-year online flame; they both had used altered images of themselves after striking up a conversation in a chat room. The man was Michael Fortunato, who died at 26 of a pulmonary embolism a month after the episode aired.
MTV said Sawyer appeared on a recent Catfish catchup special, where she revealed that she was staying in a sober-living facility after struggling with addiction. The network said she since had completed a program at the facility, had a job and was living in her own apartment in Alabama.
Catfish host Max Joseph tweeted his condolences: