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Caroline Flack, former host of U.K.’s Love Island, has died. Her death was confirmed by her family in a statement via the Press Association on Saturday. She was 40.
“We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February,” the statement began. “We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time.”
While no cause of death was given, multiple reports in British news outlets noted that Flack was found unresponsive at her apartment in London.
She began her career on the comedy series Bo’ Selecta! in 2002 and went on to present shows on the ITV network such as The Xtra Factor. Flack began presenting the dating reality series Love Island in 2015, for which she became well known. The show follows a group of young men and women living in a Spanish villa together and hoping to find romantic connections.
In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, an ITV spokesperson said, “Everybody at Love Island and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news. Caroline was a much loved member of the Love Island team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends.”
Flack stepped down from the series in 2019 following a domestic assault charge involving her partner, tennis player Lewis Burton. She was replaced by Irish TV host Laura Whitmore. On social media, Whitmore was one of many Love Island castmembers who took to Twitter to share their grief over Flack’s death. She posted a picture of herself with Flack and wrote, “I’m trying to find the words but I can’t.” Beside it, she included a poem about losing a loved one.
In the coming days, Flack was due to face trial for the alleged assault of her boyfriend.
Burton broke his silence about her death in an Instagram post Sunday, saying he was “so lost for words” about her passing. “My heart is broken,” Burton wrote, alongside a photo of himself and Flack. “We had something so special. I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don’t think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking.”
He added: “I will be your voice baby I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud everyday. I love you with all my heart.”
Flack was born in 1979 in London. Among her additional TV credits, she had guest appearances in Celebrity Juice, Britain’s Got More Talent, Loose Women, Sunday Brunch and Strictly Come Dancing.
The death of Flack comes a year and a half after season two Love Island contestant Sophie Gradon killed herself at her family home after mixing alcohol and cocaine and 10 months after season three contestant Mike Thalassitis died, again by committing suicide.
Following Flack’s death, an ITV spokesperson said Love Island would not air on Sunday. “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.”
Feb. 15, 10:56 a.m. Updated with statement from ITV spokesperson.
Feb. 15, 11:40 a.m. Updated with Twitter tribute from Whitmore.
Feb. 16, 7:49 a.m. Updated with Instagram tribute from Burton.
Feb. 16, 11:10 a.m. Updated with statement from ITV spokesperson.
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