Biggest Loser alum Damien Gurganious died on Nov. 24 after suffering Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, an autoimmune disorder that causes bleeding in the brain. He was 38.
His wife, Nicole Brewer Gurganious, who competed with him on the NBC reality weight loss competition in 2009, broke the news on her Facebook page on Nov. 29.
“Damien always desired to bring out the best in those around him by offering encouragement, support and love, often couched in his own hilarious and sage adages,” she wrote. In a statement to Us Weekly on Thursday, his family wrote: “He was a pillar of his family, an amazing son, brother, cousin and uncle. He was an incredible husband and father to his two-year old daughter, Giselle. He was an inspiration and a mentor to so many. His love for his family and friends was immense.”
The Biggest Loser will remember Gurganious in an “in memoriam” after the Dec. 11 episode. In a statement to EW, NBC wrote: “We were deeply saddened to hear of Damien Gurganious’ passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Damien’s wife and daughter, Nicole and Giselle, as well as both of their families during this difficult time.”