TLC's 'Next Great Baker' Hides Death of Contestant

Staff Writer
Wesley Durden, a contestant and former paratrooper who was deployed to Iraq, died in late October
Wesley Durden
Discovery/TLC

Wesley Durden

At the end of this week's Next Great Baker, TLC anounced with an "In Memoriam" note that contestant and Iraq War veteran Wesley Durden had died. The network released the news after an episode when Durden, 28, was eliminated from Next Great Baker.

Reuters reports that Durden died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Oct. 24. Many viewers, however, are outraged that the network kept airing episodes while keeping silent about Durden's death. 

"They did throw a card up at the end, but this still seems like a series of bad decisions to me and wildly insensitive to the guy's family and friends," one writer at Tucson Weekly wrote. Viewers have taken to Twitter to express dismay and sorrow.

Later, TLC posted a statement on Facebook, saying, "TLC extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Sgt. Wesley Durden, who died October 24. He will be warmly remembered by the cast and crew of NEXT GREAT BAKER."

Wesley Durden's mother, however, doesn't seem to harbor hard feelings toward the show. “I’m thankful for the show. I believe the show helped keep him alive,” Donna Durden said to The Daily News.

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