Although an official cause of death is pending a coroner's investigation, authorities are "handling the incident as a death investigation where no foul play is suspected," says the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
After a missing person investigation was launched, authorities received information Wednesday that Hug, 35, may have been in or near the vast San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California.
A helicopter eventually "located a deceased male in a remote area that was inaccessible to ground personnel," according to the sheriff's statement. His car was found on a forest service access road.
Coroner's officials "were hoisted to the location via helicopter to conduct a preliminary investigation," but Hug's body wasn't removed until 10 a.m. the next day – Thursday – because of the rugged terrain.
Hug, 35, who competed for Jillian Harris's love on Season 5, disappeared while on his way to help his family manage their newest restaurant in Palm Desert, Calif., his father says.