Damien Gurganious began his weight loss journey on NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser in 2009. His starting weight on the show was 381 pounds. He also competed with his fiancé Nicole Brewer who began her journey at 269 pounds. Even though Damien was eliminated in the third week he continued his weight loss journey from home to prep for the finale. Nicole was brought back and was eliminated again on week 13. Overall Damian lost a total of 136 pounds while he was at home. He weighed 245 at the time of the finale with a 35.70% of his body weight lost. Unfortunately in November he passed away at the very young age of 38.
Gurganious’ now-wife Nicole posted on social media that he had passed away from a sudden onset of an autoimmune disease called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). The disease caused a brain bleed which is what ultimately took his life. Gurganious leaves behind his wife and his 2 year old daughter Gisele. The Biggest Loser show aired a memorial for him in the episode following his death.
ITP is a disease that leads to bleeding and bruising. This happens because your platelet count drops considerably. The platelets are what helps the blood to clot so if there is nothing to clot the blood even the smallest of cuts or bruises can bleed for a long time. All ages can contract this disease. Children usually do not need treatment for it and recover quickly. It is chronic for adults and can often be deadly. Some cases may require surgery if it is really serious and different medications to replace the platelets sometimes helps.
Some of the symptoms of ITP are:
– Prolonged bleeding of minor cuts
– Easily bruised skin
– Bleeding under the skin that can look like a rash
– Spontaneous nosebleeds
It is unknown how someone contracts ITP. When they do contract it the body starts attacking the platelets like it would attack foreign matter in the body. The antibodies in your system will attach themselves to the platelets and destroy them which leads to the bleeding and bruising.