Stevenage FC 'shocked and saddened' by death of former player Mike Thalassitis

PUBLISHED: 09:27 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:41 18 March 2019

Former Stevenage FC footballer and Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis has died aged 26, his management has confirmed. Pictures: Archant, Ian West/PA Wire

Former Stevenage FC footballer and Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis has died aged 26, his management has confirmed. Pictures: Archant, Ian West/PA Wire

Archant, Ian West/PA Wire

Stevenage FC says everyone at the club is “shocked and saddened” to hear about the death of former player Michael Thalassitis, who has been found dead at the age 26.

Mike Thalassitis found fame on the 2017 series of Love Island, and went on to star in Celebs Go Dating the following year. Picture: Ian West/PA WireMike Thalassitis found fame on the 2017 series of Love Island, and went on to star in Celebs Go Dating the following year. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

The Love Island star – who was given his first professional football contract at Stevenage in 2011 – was found dead on Saturday morning in a park near his childhood home in Edmonton, north London, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Mike – as he was known when he appeared on the ITV reality show in 2017 – joined Stevenage’s youth system ahead of the 2010-11 season, earning his first contract after scoring 17 goals in 26 games.

The striker played for Boro six times between 2011 and 2014 after making his debut in a 1-0 away defeat to Milton Keynes Dons in August 2011, with six loan spells while still on Stevenage’s books.

Michael Thalassitis battles with Leyton Orient's Moses Odubajo during his time at Boro's. Picture: John BabbMichael Thalassitis battles with Leyton Orient's Moses Odubajo during his time at Boro's. Picture: John Babb

In a statement posted on Twitter, @StevenageFC said: “Everybody at #StevenageFC is shocked & saddened to hear the tragic news about former player Michael Thalassitis.

“Our sincerest condolences go to his family & friends.”

Current Stevenage FC midfielder Joel Byrom, who played with Mike during his spell at the club, tweeted in response: “Shocked and gutted to hear about this. Such a top lad coming through at Stevenage. RIP Thala.”

After being released by Stevenage in May 2014, the Cyprus U19 and U21 international went on to play for Bishop’s Stortford, Chelmsford City, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead Town, among others, before signing his last football contract in February 2017 in a second spell at Margate.

In the summer of that year he appeared on ITV’s Love Island, where he was affectionately known as ‘Muggy Mike’ after being a hit with the ladies.

In the wake of the news of his death, the show’s host, Caroline Flack, posted: “Mike... you were a total gentleman... I won’t forget that... it’s so sad... you will be missed. RIP.”

Michael Thalassitis wheels away after scoring during his time at St Albans City. Picture: Bob WakeleyMichael Thalassitis wheels away after scoring during his time at St Albans City. Picture: Bob Wakeley

Stevenage’s Kady McDermott, who was a Love Island finalist in 2016, has raised questions over the lack of post-show support provided to those who find fame after appearing on reality TV.

She said: “Hopefully going forward reality shows will help more with the aftermath of being on one, because I can say it definitely didn’t happen after my series when lots of us needed it. People’s lives change overnight and no one can mentally be prepared for it. The good and the bad.”

Last year, Mike – who was born in Edmonton – joined the fourth series of Channel 4’s Celebs Go Dating, and was being represented by Neon Management at the time of his death.

He had been planning to open a cafe called The Skillet in Loughton, Essex, with floral tributes left outside at the weekend.

Floral Tributes left outside the cafe in Loughton that Mike Thalassitis planned to open before he was found dead. Picture: Lewis Pennock/PA WireFloral Tributes left outside the cafe in Loughton that Mike Thalassitis planned to open before he was found dead. Picture: Lewis Pennock/PA Wire

Mike Thalassitis had planned to open The Skillet in Loughton, Essex. Picture: Lewis Pennock/PA WireMike Thalassitis had planned to open The Skillet in Loughton, Essex. Picture: Lewis Pennock/PA Wire

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