Brooks Ayers, who has dated Real Housewives of Orange County cast member Vicki Gunvalson on-and-off for the last few seasons, has been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.
According to a Radar Online report, Ayers was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the fall of 2013 and it has since advanced.
“I am determined to fight this horrible disease and am surrounded by love and support from people who truly care about me,” Ayers told Radar.
While Ayers and Gunvalson, 52, are no longer dating – “I am not married to Brooks, nor engaged, nor are we living together,” Gunvalson said in September – she is still emotional over the news.
“I am very sad about the recent diagnosis of Brooks’s cancer reoccurrence,” the Housewife told PEOPLE in a statement. “It really puts life in perspective and makes you realize how important health, family and friends are during this time. Thank you for respecting his privacy and for all your thoughts and prayers for Brooks during this time.”
• Reporting by GILLIAN TELLING