"He's greatly missed."
The Bachelor family is still mourning the loss of Eric Hill, a contestant on Andi Dorfman's current season of The Bachelorette who died following a paragliding accident after his time on the show.
After the show's May 19 premiere, viewers have gotten to know Eric better, especially on his recent one-on-one date with Andi in the last episode. And it's easy to see why the 32-year-old, who chronicled his mission to travel to all 195 United Nations-recognized countries in world record time on his site The Global Odyssey, was so well-liked by the show's producers and cast.
"I used to joke around with him because he would tell me a story about one of his adventures, and I swear I told him and I still, to this day, he was the most interesting man that I've ever met personally," Marquel Martin, one of Eric's fellow contestants, told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.
Hill's death happened while Dorfman and the contestants were doing the hometown dates and producers handled the situation "as respectfully" as they could, host Chris Harrison said. "It was really something we'd never dealt with before," he explained, adding, "We never would have kept it from them. He was a good friend of theirs. Absolutely, they know."
And while Marquel, a current fan favorite thanks to his love for cookies and fashion sense, couldn't reveal if he makes it to the hometown dates, he opened up about how he learned of Eric's tragic passing.
"When we got the news that Eric had passed, it very much kind of hit home. My first impression of Eric was that he was just really….his personality translated to what he loved," Marquel said. "Just from talking to him, you knew right away that he loved life. Some people may speak in different terms to where you don't really know what they love in life but he genuinely and truly just cared about living and loving life."
In last Monday's episode, during the first one-on-one date of the season, Eric revealed that he wrote a goodbye letter to his parents during a trip to Syria when his group was stopped by two armed militants.
"He's greatly missed. It was a very tragic accident for all of us," Marquel said. "It was different, but I have nothing but the upmost respect for him and how he was raised. His family is in my prayers and my condolences go out to them."
The Bachelorette airs Sunday, June 1, at 8 p.m., and Monday, June 2, at 8 p.m., on ABC.