Josh Seiter, a 2015 contestant on “The Bachelorette,” confirmed he was alive in an Instagram video on Tuesday, just a day after reports he had died at the age of 36.
Seiter posted a short video saying his account had been hacked and apologizing for any pain caused by the fabricated death announcement.
“As you can see, I am alive and well,” he said in a video posted Tuesday afternoon, after multiple outlets, including HuffPost, reported on his death. “My account was hacked. ... Somebody was playing a cruel joke and mocking my mental illness and the struggles I’ve gone through with depression and suicide attempts and I’m sorry for all the pain they caused when they made that post.”
Seiter said he was locked out of his account for 24 hours but finally able to get back in on Tuesday. He promised to offer further updates on the matter.
HuffPost has reached out to Seiter for further confirmation. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The original post, which has since been deleted, read like a touching tribute to the social media personality. It purported to be from Seiter’s family.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share the tragic news of Joshua’s unexpected passing,” the deleted statement attributed to his family said. “As all who knew him can attest, Joshua was an incredibly bright light in an increasingly dim world. His fearless voice and indomitable spirit helped thousands of people in their darkest moments feel just a little less alone.”
“Although our heartache at Joshua’s passing pains up beyond measure, we find comfort in knowing that he is finally at peace,” the statement continued. “We hope and pray that his spirit can continue to live on in the pictures and words on this page, which we will leave up for the time being. While we do that, we would kindly ask for privacy as we grieve.”
While Seiter was sent home during Week 1 of “Bachelorette” Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season, he was able to channel the reality TV attention into a robust social media following and modeling career.
Seiter has been public about his mental health struggles, openly sharing his experience with depression and anxiety online.
In a 2021 Instagram post, he identified himself as a “suicide attempt survivor” but told followers, “I refuse to give up.” In the caption, Seiter also disclosed that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Seiter posted a selfie to Instagram last week with the caption, “Surviving depression and anxiety one day at a time with a smile.”