Former "Bachelor" contestant Gia Allemand died Wednesday of an apparent suicide, her family said in a statement. She was 29 years old.
The model's boyfriend, Ryan Anderson, who plays for the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, found Allemand in her New Orleans home Monday night and called 911. She was rushed to University Hospital in critical condition and placed on life support.
"Due to a critical loss of brain and organ function, life support was withdrawn (Wednesday)," the family's statement read. "Ms. Allemand passed away peacefully with her mother, boyfriend and other life-long friends by her side.
"Loved ones and fans will remember Gia Allemand as a caring woman who loved her family and was well-known for her compassion towards animals and mission to rescue homeless pets," the statement continued.
Anderson also released a statement Wednesday regarding Allemand's death, saying, "I'm deeply grateful for all the love and support we have received from family, friends and fans. Gia was the most beautiful person I knew inside and out and she always smiled and made everyone else around her smile.
"She had such an amazing impact on my life and anyone that knew her was blessed. All I have left is to cherish those memories we made together and help perpetuate the many values, faith and love that we shared."
Allemand participated in the 14th season of ABC's dating show, which featured pilot Jake Pavelka. He took to Twitter to express his sorrow when he heard the news of her death.
Pavelka gave his season's final rose to Vienna Girardi. Allemand finished as his third choice. Pavelka later admitted during an appearance on "On-Air With Ryan Seacrest" that if he could redo the season, he would've chosen Allemand.
"The entire 'Bachelor' family is tremendously saddened by the tragic passing of our friend Gia," Mike Fleiss, the show's creator and executive producer, said in a statement to TODAY.com. "This is a devastating loss for anyone who ever knew her."
Tenley Molzahn, who competed against Allemand for Pavelka's affections on "The Bachelor," called her former competition "a beautiful girl." "My heart is heavy along with many others today," she told E! News. "She leaves us with a beautiful example of how to live life in faith, in joy and in beauty. ... Let's celebrate Gia, and look at the way she lived as an inspiration."
Funeral plans will be announced later, the family's statement said.
First published August 14 2013, 11:54 AM