LOVE Island will pay tribute to Mike Thalassitis during tonight's opening episode.
ITV had previously decided not bring up the tragic death but have made a u-turn following backlash from devastated fans.
A Love Island insider told the Mirror: “Producers wanted to pay their respects to Mike and show his friends, family and fans that he was a part of the Love Island family and is missed deeply by everyone.
“It is a really difficult subject but they wanted to address it rather than sweep it under the carpet or pretend it hasn’t happened.”
The show had initially planned on remembering, Mike, who was found hanged in a North London wood aged 26, with a less substantial tribute on ITV’s on-demand service instead.
It was due to play alongside the 2017 series in which Mike starred, which will soon be available as a boxset on the ITV Hub.
Last June, Love Island host Caroline Flack paid tribute to ex-contestant Sophie Gradon on spinoff show Aftersun after the beauty queen died during the series’ run.
She said: “She was a gorgeous person both inside and out. Everyone's thoughts here at Love Island are with Sophie's friends and family at this really terrible time. Sophie we will never forget you.”
Love Island bosses announced they were making changes to their aftercare policy following the deaths of Mike and Sophie, who was confirmed to have committed suicide in an inquest last month.
In a letter to The Sun, creative director Richard Cowles said therapy would now be available to “all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us.”
He said: “When something so awful happens we naturally enter a period of soul searching and ask whether anything could have been done.”
Two weeks after Mike’s death, ITV exec Carolyn McCall claimed there was only an “extremely tenuous” link between Love Island and the tragedy.
She pointed out he had participated in two further reality shows – E4’s Celebs Go Dating and MTV’s Ex on the Beach – after his stint in the villa.
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