35-year-old Julien Hug, who competed in Season 5 of “The Bachelorette” and was reported missing on Monday, was found dead at about 11 am Wednesday in a remote area between Palm Desert and Lake Hemet off Highway 74 in Riverside County.
Hug’s father, Bertrand, said that his son was on his way to help manage the family’s newest restaurant in Palm Desert, Augusta Modern. He was last heard from two days ago before his cell phone went dead while he was driving along Highway 74. A missing person’s report was filed and authorities had been conducting a search.
The body was found in a remote area near Pinyon Pines described by the sheriff’s department as a spot “you would need to hike into.” The autopsy on Thursday revealed that Hug died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
Bertrand and Denis Hug say their son told them in a letter “that he was suffering from acute depression and he felt it was his only way out. While publicly outgoing he was an extremely private person who internalized everything.”
They also said: “Our son meant the world to us and this came as a complete shock. We are beyond devastated and completely distraught. … What we saw was his thirst for life with fast cars, motorcycles and his love of skydiving.”
A public funeral is planned for next Friday, Nov. 12. In lieu of flowers, BertandHug asks well-wishers to send donations to the Julien Hug Foundation.
Hug graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 1993. His parents Bertrand and Denise Hug owns the well-known Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe and Bertrand at Mister A’s by Balboa Park.
Hug had a successful career working as the host of Mille Fleurs restaurant in California. On his company biography, Hug is described as an experienced restauranteur who “can be found regularly at Mille Fleurs taking care of his guests, discussing food and wine or making people laugh with an interesting story.”
In addition to working in the restaurant, Hug was “passionate about skydiving, writing and all things automotive.”
Julien Hug was one of the 30 potential bachelors vying to win the heart of Jillian Harris on season 5 of “The Bachelorette”. He received a rose on the first episode but was eliminated in the second episode. Harris wound up getting engaged to Ed Swiderski, though the two broke up in July.
Vancouver’s reality TV star Jillian Harris says she is “completely heartbroken” after hearing about the death of one of the contestants who tried to woo her heart on The Bachelorette.
“I will always remember Julien’s gentle demeanor and kind heart, which will be sadly missed,” said Jillian Harris, the show’s object of desire in 2009.
“Please say a prayer for the loss of a friend this morning,” she tweeted to fans today. “Life is fragile, don’t forget to love the ones you love.”
The interior designer said in a statement that she is mourning the loss of Hug.
“I am completely heartbroken for the Hug family. My whole heart goes out to them today as they mourn a precious life that ended far too soon,” Harris said.
“It’s very difficult to find the words to express my condolences, but I will always remember Julien’s gentle demeanor and kind heart, which will be sadly missed.”
Harris, whose parents live in Alberta, made a name for herself in Vancouver, designing Browns Restaurant Group and the Cactus Club Cafe. She now lives in the U.S. and works on the Extreme Makeover Home Edition television show.
His fellow cast member and longtime friend, Kiptyn Locke, said “I knew him before the season. He was one of the most positive selfless people I knew.”
“Everyone who knew him loved him. He is a guy who really enjoyed life. He was a thrill seeker,” Kiptyn said. “He was a sky diver, he did tons of jumps.”
Kiptyn says he and girlfriend Tenley Molzahn were shaken.
“We were just saying how important it is to make sure you tell everyone in your life just how much you love them and how much they mean to you.”
The autopsy result is bound to shock all those who know Hug. This is a guy who is so full of life and has so much going for him. It is almost unimaginable that he would commit suicide.