Caroline Flack, a well-known television personality and former host of ITV’s ‘Love Island’ and other shows in Britain, died on February 15 in London. She was 40.
A lawyer for the family said she had died by suicide and was found in her home.
In 2015, Flack began hosting ‘Love Island’, a British dating-reality show on which the public voted off “islanders” until one couple remained.
She was replaced in December after being charged with assault after an episode involving her boyfriend, tennis star Lewis Burton, ‘The Guardian’ reported.
“Caroline was a much loved member of the ‘Love Island’ team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends,” ITV, which broadcasts the show, said on Twitter.
Laura Whitmore, who replaced Flack as the show’s host, said on Twitter that she was “trying to find the words but I can’t.”
Flack was no stranger to reality television.
In 2014, she won ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ with her dance partner Pasha Kovalev and also hosted several other shows, including ‘I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! Now!’ and ‘Xtra Factor’, according to ITV.
Flack, who had several famous partners including Prince Harry and Harry Styles, is a fixture in the British tabloids. She also had to deal with their incessant prying and constant criticism.
She once told The Sun, “Not everyone is going to like you, so you have to filter it.”
The Sun, which had blanket coverage of the assault allegations against Flack, called her ‘Caroline Whack’ in a December story.
The tabloid faced online backlash in the aftermath of Flack’s death as social media users attacked it for its articles about her. At one point, #dontbuythesun and #thescum were both trending on Twitter.
In a 2019 Instagram post, Flack wrote that she was “in a really weird place” and that she found it hard to talk about it. She said when she reached out to someone to talk about her feelings, they called her “draining.”
“I feel like this is why some people keep their emotions to themselves,” she said. “I certainly hate talking about my feelings. And being a burden is my biggest fear.”
Flack said she was “lucky” to be able to pick herself up, adding “but what happens if someone can’t.”
“Be nice to people,” she continued. “You never know what’s going on. Ever.”
While ‘Love Island’ is a wildly popular show in Britain, it has raised issues about mental health.
Two previous contestants died by suicide, Sophie Gradon in 2018 and Mike Thalassitis in 2019. Their deaths stirred a debate in Britain over the ethics of reality television and the duty that broadcasters have to care for contestants.
ITV released new guidelines in May to promote contestants’ well-being and also offered contestants “training on dealing with social media.”