Spokeswoman Audrey Doherty said Julien Hug left his parents a letter explaining he was suffering from depression and felt suicide was the only way out. Hug's body was found Wednesday in the remote Pinyon Pines area off Highway 74 in Riverside County, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
The county coroner's office has yet to release details on the cause of death.
Hug was a contestant in the ABC show, a spinoff of the network's competitive dating show "The Bachelor," in May 2009. Jillian Harris passed him over for Ed Swiderski. Doherty did not know what effect that may have had on Hug, who had since had a new girlfriend.
"I don't think we'll ever know," she said, adding that the family was stunned by his death.
Hug had been on his way to help manage his family's newest restaurant, Augusta Modern, in Palm Desert when his cell phone ran out of power. No one had heard from him since, she said.
The Hug family owns two of the San Diego area's best-known and priciest restaurants: Bertrand at Mr. A's in San Diego, and Mille Fleurs, which serves French cuisine in the ultra-wealthy suburb of Rancho Santa Fe.