On Friday, Nov. 20, 2021, it was reported that a Wipeout contestant had died after competing in an obstacle course while filming. The contestant started to have chest pains sometime after completing the course. Although on-set medics treated the contestant and immediately transported him to a hospital, the contestant — whose name was Michael Paredes — ultimately died.
A TBS spokesperson told CNN, "We are devastated to have learned of his passing, and our deepest sympathy goes out to the family."
How did the 'Wipeout' contestant die?
NBC news reported that the L.A. County coroner's office found that 38-year-old Michael Paredes' cause of death was natural causes "and that he suffered from undetected coronary artery disease." He sustained a heart attack after taking a fall on the series' obstacle course. He shortly lost consciousness following the spill and then died a day later after being rushed to a hospital in Santa Clarita, Calif.
The coroner's toxicology report cleared Paredes of any alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of his death, however, the report did indicate he regularly used Nutrex Outlift Amped, a pre-workout powder. It's said that he consumed a mixture of the supplement with water prior to filming that day.
Paredes' autopsy report is not suggesting that the pre-workout had anything to do with or contributed to his passing. The distinction was made in order to clarify a false positive for MDMA (aka Ecstasy) that came up in the report. The contestant's fiancée told those investigating Paredes' death that he did not consume any drugs or alcohol and that he didn't feel any strange side effects after taking the workout supplement.
Sadly, this isn't the first tragedy associated with Wipeout. Another contestant died in 2009.
How did 'Wipeout' contestant Tom Sparks die?
Tom Sparks, who was 33, started having knee pain and experiencing shortness of breath while on-set for Wipeout in 2009. This was on Oct. 19. He was taken to a hospital, where he had multiple brain surgeries — but he died on Nov. 5 from a stroke.
According to sources, he had antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, which is a disease that causes extra and unnatural blood clots. It also wasn't known if he disclosed this information to the Wipeout producers (all candidates need to be forthcoming about their medical history and any pre-existing conditions before participating in the show).
Tom had just graduated from USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and had also just gotten married to his wife Kate, who was also on Wipeout.
"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family. This is a tragic loss and our thoughts are with them at this time," an Endemol production company spokesperson told Access. "He seemed invincible. He was very talented and was always, always on the go," a source said to the Los Angeles Times.
“Tom truly was one of the most positive people I’ve worked with in broadcasting. He started working for our show last summer after graduating from USC. He was a true talent and well liked by everyone," said CaliforniaLifeHD producer Heather Dawson, per The Wrap.
In September 2020, it was announced that Wipeout had just been revived by TBS and would be hosted by John Cena and Nicole Byer. The original series was on ABC for seven seasons between 2008 and 2014 for a whopping 130 episodes. The show was originally created by Matt Kunitz and Scott Larsen and filmed at Sable Ranch in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Catch episodes of the new Wipeout series Thursdays at 9/8 c on TBS.