Caroline Flack, former host of U.K. reality hit “Love Island”, has passed away at age 40.
The Sun was the first to report that the television presenter had died after rumours began circulating on social media.
“We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February,” a family spokesperson told The Sun. “We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time.”
A lawyer for Flack’s family confirmed to the Independent that Flack took her own life.
Flack’s death comes during a turbulent period after she stepped away from “Love Island” when she was charged with domestic assault following an altercation with her partner, tennis player Lewis Burton. The trial was scheduled to begin next month.
Flack had been a staple on British television since the early 2000s, beginning with her role in Channel 4 comedy series “Bo’ Selecta!”. She was also presenter on numerous reality shows, including “Gladiators”, “Viral Tap”, and “The Xtra Factor”.
ITV, which broadcasts “Love Island” in Britain, issued a statement following Flack’s death:
ITV2 didn’t air “Love Island” for a second night Sunday.
On Monday, the show returned and opened with a tribute to Flack.
Presenter Iain Stirling read a tribute while scenic footage played. “We are all absolutely devastated by the tragic news that Caroline, a much-loved member of our ‘Love Island’ family, has passed away,” he said. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this dreadful time.”
“Caroline and me were together from the very start of Love Island and her passion, warmth, and infectious enthusiasm were a crucial part of what made the show connect with millions of viewers,” he continued. “Like many of you, right now, we’re all just trying to come to terms with what has happened. My only hope is that we can all try and be kinder, always show love, and listen to one another.”
Stirling then sounded like he was holding back tears as he finished the dedication, “Caroline, I want to thank you for all the fun times we had making our favourite show. You were a true friend to me. I’m gonna miss you, Cass.”
An ITV spokesperson said, according to Variety: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.
“After careful consultation between Caroline’s representatives and the ‘Love Island’ production team and given how close we still are to the news of Caroline’s tragic death, we have decided not to broadcast tonight’s ‘Love Island’ out of respect for Caroline’s family. ‘Love Island’ will return tomorrow night, which will include a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts.”
Sun columnist and friend Dan Wootton took to Twitter with a scathing series of messages, alleging Flack had been “hung out to dry” by ITV, and was “distraught about the lack of support she was given” by the network.
Kristina Rihanoff of U.K. reality competition “Strictly Come Dancing” shared similar sentiments.
However, the Sun and other British tabloids are trying to quickly delete past negative stories about Flack as an attempt to clear their names.
Other U.K. media figures have been reacting to the sad news via social media.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.