Marc Stamas/Getty
Natalie Stone
November 17, 2016 05:29 PM

Former Project Runway hairstylist George Ortiz was found dead in his New York apartment early Tuesday morning, the Associated Press reports.

At 1 a.m. on Nov. 15, the New York Police Department responded to a call of an unconscious male at his Riverside Dr. apartment, an NYPD police spokesperson tells PEOPLE. Upon arrival at his apartment, officers found the 45-year-old male unconscious, unresponsive and face up on his bed.

According to director of public affairs Julie Bolcer of the NYC Chief Medical Examiner’s office, the cause of death is asphyxia by covering of head with fastened plastic bag and displacement of oxygen by nitrogen; the manner of death is suicide.

Ortiz served as a key hairstylist on 53 episodes of the reality competition series from 2006–10, according to IMDb.

Almost a year ago, Ortiz shared a throwback picture on Instagram from his days on the Project Runway set. “TBT #projectrunway6 #behindthescenes #georgeortizhair #ilovemylife #tbt,” he captioned the photo of himself sitting alongside judges Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia.

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