Andi Dorfman, who begins her journey for love on The Bachelorette Monday, is speaking out on one of many topics sure to dominate headlines: Eric Hill.
"When I heard the news, I was devastated," says Dorfman, who reached out privately to his family after Eric Hill died following his stint on the series.
"Shock, devastation, grief. It's something you never could have predicted [or] expected," she says of the 30-year-old adventurer, who "was part of our family."
"I had just seen him. He was a member of our cast and we had an inherent bond. The [other contestants] shared that bond too. It was shocking and devastating."
"It's still a tough thing that all of us are going through."
The Bachelorette spoilers recently revealed exactly how many weeks he made it before Dorfman sent him home, but regardless, she has only fond memories.
"I will always remember Eric's love for life," Andi Dorfman says.
"People say, 'he lived life to the fullest.' But Eric really was the epitome of someone who lived life to the fullest. This man had amazing stories and great experiences."
"His sense of adventure inspired not only me, but every guy in the house, every producer, every crew member. Everybody says they want to do stuff in their life; he was really doing it."
As for how the rest of the season will play out on ABC?
"I learned that I'm a lot softer than I thought I was," she says. "I knew I had a tough shell, but I'm a softie inside. I'm excited for everyone to see how this turns out."
Here's a look at the other 24 guys who sought her heart: