Ashley Sawyer was found dead this week, and authorities say the 23-year-old famous for her appearance on the MTV reality show Catfish was the victim of an apparent heroin overdose.
Sawyer died this weekend in Alabama, and while an official cause of death has not yet been announced, Al.com reported that it was believed to be an overdose.
The report noted that police responded to a call at Sawyer’s home in Hoover at 12:16 a.m. on Saturday. By the time police arrived, paramedics were performing CPR on an unconscious Sawyer. Officers used a defibrillator but could not revive her. They later administered the drug Narcan, which is used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, but this failed as well.
Stewart was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the initial indications point to a drug overdose.
“An autopsy was performed and early indications are this may be related to a drug overdose, possibly heroin,” said Hoover police spokesman Lt. Chuck McDonald.
Police added that there were signs of heroin use at the scene of Stewart’s death.
Ashley Stewart appeared on a 2013 episode of the documentary series, which highlights the lengths people go to lie and conceal their identities online when striking up relationships with others. The series follows these people as they meet others who are lying about their age or appearance.
Stewart contacted the show’s producers about meeting a longtime online companion, Michael Fortunato. Both Ashley and Michael had used pictures that altered their appearance, leading to an awkward encounter. But the two later struck up a relationship.
In another tragic twist, Fortunato died of a pulmonary embolism just one month after the episode aired.
In a follow-up episode after Fortunato’s death, Ashley Stewart admitted that she struggled with addiction. She also said that Fortunato’s death struck her hard.
“The last thing we said to each other was that we loved each other,” Ashley recounted in the episode (via MTV News).
Fortunato’s death prompted Ashley Stewart to seek treatment at a rehab center, and family members said she moved from her native Georgia to Alabama, where she had been holding down a job.
Family members said they are devastated by Ashley’s death.
“We had a great relationship,” Ashley’s sister Jessica Ross told MTV News. “I know she knows how much I loved her and she loved me, and I am so sad that she’s gone. She was so funny, she could make me laugh on my absolute worst day. She was just a really fun person to be around.”
The network has also sent condolences, with the show’s creators, Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, posting tributes to Ashley on Twitter.
Shocked and saddened by the death of Ashley Sawyer. So sweet and kind. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family. ???????? pic.twitter.com/fC6qG84gfC— Max Joseph (@maxjoseph) May 2, 2016
So sad to lose both Mike & Ashley. I hope they are happy & together now where nothing can hurt them. pic.twitter.com/ETXiaTYvDt— Nev Schulman (@NevSchulman) May 3, 2016
“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.”
Many fans have also taken to the internet to offer their condolences, with many tweeting their support for Ashley and her family and leaving messages on the network’s Facebook page. MTV News also invited fans to turn the comments section into a de facto memorial for her.
Police said the investigation into the death of Ashley Stewart will continue on but said there are no indications of foul play.
[Image via MTV]