Bachelorette Andi Dorfman "devastated" over loss of Eric Hill

May 13, 2014 at 8:17 p.m. ET
Image: Photo Credit: ABC

The newest Bachelorette, Andi Dorfman, had to deal with the loss of a contestant, and is opening up about it for the first time since his death.

The newest season of The Bachelorette is only a few days away, and this season's Bachelorette, Andi Dorfman, is not celebrating, but grieving, after the death of one of the show's contestants.

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Eric Hill died on April 23 in a paragliding accident after he returned home from the show. Dorfman finally opened up about the loss, and how she dealt with Hill's death.

"When I heard the news, I was devastated," Dorfman told People. "Shock, devastation, grief. It's something you never could have predicted [or] expected."

"[Hill] was part of our family," Dorfman said. "And I had just seen him. He was a member of our cast and we had an inherent bond. The [other contestants] shared that bond too. It was shocking and devastating to all of us and it's still a tough thing that we're going through."

Hill will not be edited out of episodes, and Dorfman said she will remember him as the adventurer that he was.

"I will always remember Eric's love for life," she said. "People say, 'Oh he lived life to the fullest.' But Eric really was the epitome of someone who lived life to the fullest. This man had amazing stories and great experiences. His sense of adventure inspired not only me, but every guy in the house, every producer, every crew member. Everybody says they want to do stuff in their life but he was really doing it."

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The experience of being the Bachelorette is one that Dorfman hoped would be a good one. And although she has fond memories, the death will always overshadow her time on the show. She also learned a lot about herself. She said, "I learned that I'm a lot softer than I thought I was. I knew I had a tough shell, but I'm a softie inside."

The Bachelorette premieres Monday, May 19 on ABC.