MTV Catfish star Ashley Sawyer dies aged 23

Ashley Sawyer, who starred in MTV's reality dating show Catfish, has died aged 23.

Her cause of death is currently unknown. Almost three years ago her co-star on the show, Michael Fortunato, died unexpectedly a month after their episode aired.

Catfish, which helps people investigate whether their online "dates" are telling the truth about themselves, arranged for Sawyer, from Alabama, to meet Michael Fortunato, from New Jersey, after the pair had been chatting online for seven years.

Both overweight and insecure about their looks, they had been sending each other fake pictures of themselves - known as a "double catfish." Sawyer had been using images of when she was slimmer and Fortunato using pictures of a different man.

Michael Fortunato, who finally met online friend Ashley on the show died in 2013 Credit: MTV

Fortunato died of pulmonary embolism aged 26 just months after they met in 2013.

"The last thing we said to each other was that we loved each other," Sawyer revealed during a Catfish catch-up special.

She also said she had been struggling with drug addiction and was living in a sober facility.

Sawyer's sister Jessica Ross told MTV News: "We had a great relationship. I know she knows how much I loved her and she loved me, and I am so sad that she's gone.

"She was so funny. She could make me laugh on my absolute worst day. She was just a really fun person to be around."

Catfish hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph posted tributes to "sweet and kind" Sawyer on Twitter.