Fans of The Bachelorette have now seen how the show decided to handle the tragic death of 31-year-old contestant Eric Hill, who fought for Andi Dorfman’s heart before dying of injuries sustained in a paragliding accident. The accident occurred in April 2014, after Hill had already left the show, but figuring out how to honor Hill’s time with Dorfman was something the show did not take lightly.
And as viewers saw in the season premiere, Hill’s passing was addressed immediately, with a quick dedication, before the show kicked off, still featuring Hill as one of the 25 men competing for Dorfman’s heart.
“The whole thing was so unbelievably tragic,” Chris Harrison said. “It was a horrible, tragic accident. When things affect the show, it usually affects the cast. It’s something that happens on television. It happens to the people that are on our show. This was a very rare instance and a horrible tragic instance where it affected us, the crew, and the producers of this show just as much as it did the cast. We know Eric, we’ve been working with him, our producers have been in his hometown with his family, so when this happened, we learned of it, and we were mourning, and we were upset just as much as we knew the cast would be, Andi and the guys, as soon as we told them. It’s very rare that we’ll have something like that. In fact, it’s the first time in the 12 years we’ve been doing the show where we’ve had this sort of situation.
“So it was wise and important for us to slow down and stop and realize that we were upset about this as well and needed to take it all in and mourn and deal with it emotionally and personally, and then try to figure out how professionally we would deal with it,” Harrison continued. “And our first step was to obviously honor him at the top of the show because we had made the decision, I think wisely, to leave him in and not take him out of the show. So the start was to at least acknowledge it there, and then honestly, we’re still figuring it out. We’re still dealing with the day-to-day of how to best respectfully and honorably include him in the show, but at the same time, not sensationalize it and make it anything that it wasn’t.”