The 10th season of ABC's The Bachelorette is quickly approaching, and for the first time bachelorette Andi Dorfman is speaking out about contestant Eric Hill's sudden death.
"When I heard the news, I was devastated," Dorfman told PEOPLE. "Shock, devastation, grief. It's something you never could have predicted [or] expected."
Eric, who was described as adventure loving, was paragliding when his parachute failed to open and he crashed into a hillside. Hill passed away on April 23, and had already been eliminated from the reality dating show. Dorfman later reached out privately to Eric's family to offer her sincere condolences.
Dorfman described Eric as part of their cast family, and recalled that she had just seen him a few days before his death. "And I had just seen him. He was a member of our cast and we had an inherent bond. The [other contestants] shared that bond too. It was shocking and devastating to all of us and it's still a tough thing that we're going through."
Dorfman explained that Eric loved life, and was an extreme sports enthusiast. He loved adventure and would do things that others were too scared to do, living his life to the fullest extent.
"I will always remember Eric's love for life," she said. "People say, 'Oh he lived life to the fullest.' But Eric really was the epitome of someone who lived life to the fullest. This man had amazing stories and great experiences. His sense of adventure inspired not only me, but every guy in the house, every producer, every crew member. Everybody says they want to do stuff in their life but he was really doing it."
The Bachelorette will premiere on Monday, May 19, at 9:30 pm on ABC. Eric will not be edited out of the show, and the premiere will offer a tribute to him.
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