Ashley Sawyer of ‘Catfish’ Dies Three Years After Death of Online Love Mike Fortunato

Ashley with 'Catfish' star Nev Schulman in 2013...
Ashley with ‘Catfish’ star Nev Schulman in 2013…

It’s a sad day in the world of CatfishAshley Sawyer, who starred on an episode of the show’s second season, has died at the age of 23. While the cause of her death is still unknown, MTV News has confirmed that Ashley died over the weekend.

Ashley is best known for using the show to meet up with her longtime online love, Mike Fortunato in what was dubbed a “double Catfish” episode.

Once they met in person, it was revealed that both Ashley and Mike used fake/altered photos in their initial chatroom meeting, due to them both being self-conscious about their actual appearances. The couple remained friends after meeting on ‘Catfish.’

Mike and Ashley meeting during their episode of 'Catfish.'
Mike and Ashley meeting during their episode of ‘Catfish.’

Sadly, Mike preceded Ashley in death. In 2013– just a month after the episode featuring him and Ashley aired–Mike passed away from a pulmonary embolism. According to Ashley, she and Mike had been in contact all the way up until his death.

In a 2015 ‘Catfish’ catch-up episode, Ashley revealed that she was struggling with an addiction and was in a sober living facility. According to Ashley’s sister, Jessica Ross, Ashley had completed the sober living program and was living on her own in Alabama at the time of her death this weekend.

‘Catfish’ star Max Joseph tweeted about Ashley’s passing.

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

UPDATE: A Hoover, Alabama, police spokesperson has shed some more light as to how Ashley may have died.

“An autopsy was performed and early indications are this may be related to a drug overdose, possibly heroin,” Lt. Chuck McDonald told AL.com today.

Lt. McDonald stated that Ashley was found early Saturday morning on the floor of her apartment. Although Ashley was given CPR, as well as a dose of “save drug” Narcan, which is an emergency treatment for opiod overdose, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

AL.com stated that there were “indications of heroin use” at the scene.

(Photos: MTV)

9 Responses


  1. So sad! Addiction is REAL! She’s no longer sick and in pain! She’s dancing in the sky with the angels. I don’t know Ashley, but from a recovering addict’s POV, I wish there was something and/ or someone who could have gotten her to see the light!


  2. My deepest prayers and sympathy to Ashley’s family. And my sincerest thanks to Catfish for introducing us to such a wonderful person. RIP Ashley.


  3. Unfortunately, when addicts get sober and relapse, this often happens. They don’t have the same tolerance that they used to, and they OD.

    I obviously don’t know if that’s what happened. But it could be the case.


    1. That isn’t always the case. I am a recovering addict and I went to detox, moved into a sober living house, and I have been drug free ever since (over a year now I don’t keep track because that is not my life anymore). I don’t feel sorry for people that relapse. When you are a drug addict you have one chance to get it right. If you fail after that then you are doomed. How I did that was I refused to believe all of the crap they feed you in treatment, “addiction is a disease” is total crap. Addiction is a lapse in judgement. if you never do drugs how do you know if you have this so called disease. That’s why people keep relapsing because they lead to believe that they are sick when in reality they are not. So if and only if her death is drug related I feel bad that she was lead to believe that she was sick and not that she needs to work on her judgement. That’s how people will start staying clean.


      1. I’m not negating all that you said, I see both sides to an extent, but I’m not sure what you said applies to what Ashley said. She was just saying that when people who had a drug problem, for whatever reason, go back to drug use they often OD because their tolerance is different. What addiction is or how to overcome it wasn’t in question. Regardless, good for you if what you’re doing is working for you and keeping you alive! I wish you continued success.


      2. No, sorry, it isn’t always one shot and that’s it. Not for everyone. My aunt went to rehab, relapsed and repeated FIVE times. This will be her twentieth year sober. I’ve seen many other cases like hers at my job, in fact, most of the people there have relapsed at least once, but they managed to pick themselves up and try again, and now are happy, healthy and successful people. Relapsing doesn’t mean you’re doomed. As for the rest of what you said, again, while it may be that way for you and some people, it is not the case for everybody. Please speak for yourself only.


  4. That is sad. And my apologies, The Ashley, but do you mean “…Mike PRECEDED Ashley in death” by any chance?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share the Post:

Related Posts