Update: earlier this post was headlined in a way that could have been interpreted that the contestant died during a performance on. After speaking with someone familiar with the events, Mr. Sparks complained of pain in the knee. The producers told him not to continue and took him to the hospital. It is not clear that the stroke was suffered during the appearance. Apparently the official cause of death (a pre-existing condition The Wrap story noted) was antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), a disease that causes unnatural blood clotting. I apologize for any confusion/distress caused by the earlier headline.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family,” a joint ABC/Endemol statement read. “This is a tragic loss and our thoughts are with them at this time.”
The Wrap reports a contestant died last week after suffering a stroke after performing a stunt on ABC's two weeks ago:
Tom Sparks, 33, a recent graduate of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, was rushed from the northern Los Angeles set of the show to a local hospital two weeks ago. Sparks later was transfered to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, where doctors performed several brain surgeries.
But doctors ultimately decided there was too much brain damage, and he couldn't be saved, according an email sent to alumni by an Annenberg faculty member.
Sparks died Nov. 5.