Catfish subject Ashley Sawyer died of suspected drug overdose | EW.com

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Catfish subject Ashley Sawyer died of suspected drug overdose

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This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com

Though an official cause of death has not yet been reported for Ashley Sawyer, authorities suspect she died of a drug overdose. 

Sawyer, who appeared on MTV’s Catfish, died over the weekend in her Hoover, Alabama, apartment. She was 23.

Lieutenant Charles McDonald with the Hoover Police Department told PEOPLE police responded to Sawyer’s home shortly after midnight Saturday. According to McDonald, when authorities arrived on the scene, Sawyer was down and bystanders were performing CPR on her. 

Officers used a defibrillator in an attempt to revive her before firefighters arrived and treated her with Narcan, an antidote used to treat narcotic overdoses in emergency situations. Sawyer eventually was pronounced dead at the scene. 

“An autopsy was performed and early indications are this may be related to a drug overdose, possibly heroin,” McDonald told PEOPLE of Sawyer, who opened up about struggling with drug addiction on a recent Catfish catch-up special and revealed she was living in a sober-living facility. “Thoughts and prayers of the Hoover Police Department go out to the family of Ashley Sawyer.” 

According to McDonald, there were indications of heroin use at the scene, though he declined to elaborate because the investigation is ongoing. McDonald also said there were no signs of foul play. 

McDonald confirmed Sawyer had lived in the Hoover apartment since January or February, and had been living in the Birmingham area since December 2014. 

Captain Gregg Rector with the Hoover Police Department told CNN several of Sawyer’s friends were with her in the apartment at the time of the incident and one of those friends made the emergency call. 

“In all likelihood, her death is due to a drug overdose and is being investigated as such,” Rector said. 

Sawyer’s grandmother Eunice Jones told CNN that “it’s been a rough weekend” for the family. 

Sawyer first appeared on the MTV show in 2013, meeting Michael Fortunato after the pair had struck up an online relationship. Though they both realized they had been using altered images of themselves when they met in real life on the show, they found a genuine connection despite the initial deception. 

Fortunato unexpectedly died in October 2013 of a pulmonary embolism at age 26, just one month after their episode aired. 

Catfish hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph took to Twitter to share their condolences Tuesday, sharing images of Sawyer and Fortunato from the show. 

“Such a beautiful and strong young woman. Honored to have known her,” wrote Schulman. “So sad to lose both Mike & Ashley. I hope they are happy & together now where nothing can hurt them.”

“Shocked and saddened by the death of Ashley Sawyer. So sweet and kind. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family,” wrote Joseph. 

Results from Sawyer’s toxicology tests could take up to six weeks.