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'Bachelorette' contestant Julien Hug committed suicide, family says

November 5, 2010 |  5:24 pm

Julien Hug Julien Hug, the onetime "Bachelorette" contestant whose body was found in rugged terrain Wednesday, committed suicide, a family spokeswoman said Friday.

The only son of Bertrand and Denise Hug left his parents a letter saying he felt suicide was the only way out, Audrey Doherty said on their behalf. The Hugs own two well-known restaurants in the San Diego area; after dining with his parents Sunday, Julien was heading back to Palm Desert on Monday to help run their newest eatery.

"Our son meant the world to us and this came as a complete shock. We are beyond devastated and completely distraught," the parents said in a statement. "In his letter to us he stated 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 said they decided to address the media after being "devastated" by comments they saw from sources outside the family.

Authorities had said several notes were found on the passenger's side of Hug's jeep, but the details of the notes were not initially released. The other notes went to his girlfriend and to co-workers, People magazine said.

His live-in girlfriend of two years, Jennifer Bell, described Julien as misunderstood. "People wanted him to be this 'Bachelorette' star. That TV show was not even 1% of who he was ....  He went on that show to travel and explore adventure," she told Radar.

Hug's body was spotted Wednesday afternoon during an aerial search, after his Jeep was found on a U.S. Forest Service access road. Sunset and the terrain caused investigators to wait until Thursday to airlift the body out. The county coroner's office had yet to release details on the cause of death, but Doherty said the 35-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Hug was the second bachelor eliminated in Season 5 of the ABC romance reality show, which aired in 2009 and featured Jillian Harris as "The Bachelorette."

-- Christie D'Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Julien Hug on May 22, 2010. Credit: Tammie Arroyo / Associated Press

Related dispatch from the Ministry of Gossip:

'Bachelorette' contestant Julien Hug found dead in SoCal