Fashion designer and former Project Runway star Mychael Knight tragically passed away this week at the age of 39.
The official cause of death has not yet been revealed although he had suffered dramatic weight-loss in recent months after struggling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Mychael, who was the second runner-up and a fan favorite on the Lifetime show in Season 3 in 2006, was also said to have a condition where toxins from food leaked into his bloodstream.
These conditions in turn are said to have caused him other issues including ones to do with his immune system.
A post the designer made about his health issues on Facebook back in July, which has since been deleted, was shared with Today by close friend Jerris Madison, who is representing Mychael’s family. In it he reportedly said he did not have cancer, but revealed:
This year has really taken a toll on my health…badly. In short, IBS is a gastro-intestinal disorder in which the food I eat, my body doesn’t absorb (malabsorption) the nutrients from what I eat. In addition, b/c I have a “leaky gut”, openings in my intestines, toxins from that food leak into my bloodstream, which can cause autoimmune diseases (Diabetes, Lupus, Celiac Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis).
B/c of which, I suffer from chronic abdominal pain/diarrhea/nausea, EXTREME fatigue & exhaustion, food sensitives/allergies, foggy brain, headaches, etc. As of recent, I’ve develop some acute Autoimmune responses like Psoriasis, inflamed joints, and small respiratory issues.
IBS is a common disorder which can cause things like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation, but is not in itself fatal. However, a doctor told Today that some of the symptoms could point to something like Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease which can lead to complications.
Mychael, who was born in Germany in 1978, broke into the fashion world back in 2001 when he worked as an intern at Wilbourn Exclusives in Atlanta, Georgia. He later worked as a stylist in the music industry before applying for Season 2 of Project Runway in 2005.
After failing to get in, he auditioned again the following year and gained a place on the third season of the show. He went on to reach the finals and won the Fan Favorite award.
Mychael also appeared in the third season of spin-off show Project Runway: All Stars in 2013, getting eliminated in the fifth round.
Mychael had his own womenswear line, under his eponymous brand. He passed away on October 17.