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'The Bachelorette' pays tribute to deceased contestant

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
updated 12:24 PM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
"Biggest Loser" contestant Damien Gurganious died on November 24 from an inoperable brain bleed caused by the sudden onset of a rare autoimmune disorder, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), his wife Nicole Gurganious said in a public Facebook post. Gurganious was 38. "Biggest Loser" contestant Damien Gurganious died on November 24 from an inoperable brain bleed caused by the sudden onset of a rare autoimmune disorder, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), his wife Nicole Gurganious said in a public Facebook post. Gurganious was 38.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eric Hill died after finishing filming "The Bachelorette"
  • He was one of 25 bachelors vying for the heart of Andi Dorfman
  • The show's host praised his "passion and and courageous spirit"

(CNN) -- "The Bachelorette" premiered Monday night with a tribute to a contestant.

Eric Hill, 31, died in April from injuries suffered in a paragliding accident after filming the show. He was one of 25 men vying for the heart of "Bachelorette" Andi Dorfman, 26.

Andi Dorfman with Eric Hill on the season premiere of \
Andi Dorfman with Eric Hill on the season premiere of "The Bachelorette."

At the beginning of Monday's show, host Chris Harrison offered some kind words about Hill, who was an adventurer who documented his goal of visiting every country in 1,200 days on his website, The Global Odyssey.

"Eric passed away shortly after concluding his filming on this show," Harrison said. "In the coming weeks, you'll see that Eric was a vibrant man. Every day, he impressed us with his passion and courageous spirit. He will be greatly missed. And we dedicate this season to him."

The premiere kicked off Season 10 of the series. During the show, Hill gifted Dorfman with dolls from Peru -- the first country he had visited outside of the North American continent. Dorfman thanked him and later selected him as one of the bachelors to whom she granted one-on-one time.

Harrison, who in addition to hosting the show also serves as one of the producers, talked to Salon about the difficulty in dealing with Hill's death on the reality show.

"One of the contestants who left the show died in a tragic accident," Harrison said. "And he was a wonderful man, and very much beloved on the show, a central figure early on before he left, and our decision was quickly made: We have to show what he went through. And also because it affected our cast and our crew, what we went through. So to just cut that out of the show wouldn't have done justice to anybody, even him."

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