Chris Harrison said current contestants of The Bachelorette learned of their castmate Eric Hill's death last Wednesday—breaking away from traditional Bachelor franchise protocol, which cuts its stars off from the outside world.
"We never would have kept it from them," Harrison told ABC News Wednesday, April 30. "He was a good friend of theirs. Absolutely, they know."
Hill, 30, a contestant on Andi Dorfman's upcoming Bachelorette season, died after sustaining severe injuries from a paragliding accident on April 20. As reported, the GO With Eric adventurer hit it off initially with Dorfman, and was even given the coveted first one-on-one date with the Bachelorette.
Hill was ultimately sent home, but he made a lasting impression on the cast and crew of the smash ABC franchise. "It was a great experience for him," Harrison, 42, said of Hill's time on The Bachelorette. "I guarantee this brilliant, bright guy didn't know he would be dead in three weeks, so it really puts things into perspective for all of us," he continued. "It was horrifying. It was unbelievably tragic and sad. He was a great guy who sucked every ounce of life out of every day and really lived it to the fullest."
As for how Dorfman and her suitors are grappling with Hill's death? "They're still dealing with it," Harrison explained. "His funeral was a few days ago, [and] we all decided, 'Let's deal with this and get past it and heal ourselves,'" he continued. "Everybody's very emotional right now and that's never a good time to make a final decision."
Before joining The Bachelorette, Hill had been on a quest to travel the world in record time. The travel-loving daredevil wrote on his website, "I remember wanting to see every country in the world since I was in kindergarten. Of course there is sadness and injustice in the world, but I want to focus on the good… the awesomeness that exists in every country I visit."
Harrison, for his part, admitted to ABC News that producers are still sorting out how they plan to honor Hill on the show, which is still taping. "We're not sure 100 percent of how we're going to deal with it," he said. "We're doing our best and we made the best decisions we could at the time. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out."
Dorfman is currently filming her hometown dates, one of the final stages of her Bachelorette journey. "We did the best we could trying to be as honorable and decent to the family and to him," Harrison said. "It was really something we'd never dealt with before but we did it as delicately and respectfully as we could."