Damien Durganious Damien Durganious

Damien Gurganious, who competed on Season 7 of The Biggest Loser, died Nov. 24, Us Weekly reports. He was 38.

Gurganious, who celebrated his birthday a week before his passing, suffered from a sudden onset of a rare autoimmune disorder that caused bleeding in his brain.

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"He was a pillar of his family, an amazing son, brother, cousin and uncle," his family told the magazine in a statement. "He was an incredible husband and father to his 2-year-old daughter, Giselle. He was an inspiration and a mentor to so many. His love for his family and friends was immense."

Gurganious and his then-fiancée Nicole Brewer Gurganious appeared on the NBC weight-loss competition series together in January 2009. They were eliminated in the third week and married that August.

"All of you who knew Damien can attest to his generous and loving spirit, his outgoing and gregarious personality, and his caring and compassionate nature," his wife wrote on Facebook. "Damien always desired to bring out the best in those around him by offering encouragement, support and love, often couched in his own hilarious and sage adages."

The Biggest Loser will air an "in memoriam" card for Gurganious following the Dec. 11 episode at 8/7c on NBC. Friends have also set up "The Damien Gurganious Family Fund" website to help his family financially during this difficult time.