"MTV is deeply saddened to learn that Ashley Sawyer has passed away," the network says in a statement to PEOPLE. "Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends."
Catfish host Max Joseph tweeted he was "shocked and saddened" by her death."
Shocked and saddened by the death of Ashley Sawyer. So sweet and kind. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family. pic.twitter.com/fC6qG84gfC-- Max Joseph (@maxjoseph) May 2, 2016
Sawyer appeared on the show in 2013, meeting Michael Fortunato after the pair had struck up an online relationship. When they met in real life the show, they both realized they had been using altered images of themselves, but decided there was a genuine connection there despite the initial deception.
Fortunato unexpectedly died in 2013 of a pulmonary embolism at age 26, just one month after their episode aired.
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"The last thing we said to each other was that we loved each other," Sawyer said during a recent Catfish catch-up special, where she also opened up about struggling with drug addiction and revealed she was living in a sober-living facility.
Sawyer's sister, Jessica Ross, told MTV News that they "had a great relationship."
"I know she knows how much I loved her and she loved me, and I am so sad that she's gone," Ross told MTV News. "She was so funny, she could make me laugh on my absolute worst day. She was just a really fun person to be around."