Caroline Flack, the TV presenter, has died at the age of 40, days before she was due to face trial for assaulting her boyfriend. The former host of ITV2’s Love Island is reported to have been discovered at her home in London on Saturday.
On Friday, her boyfriend Lewis Burton attempted to contact her. She had been forbidden by a judge from communicating with Burton before the trial, which was due to begin on 4 March.
A statement from her family said: “We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, 15 February. We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time and we would ask they make no attempt to contact us and/or photograph us.”
A lawyer for the Flack family told the Press Association that Caroline had taken her own life and been found in her east London flat.
ITV announced that a highlights episode of Love Island that was due to air at 9pm on ITV2 would no longer be shown. Channel 4 said that it would no longer air a TV series called The Surjury, featuring Flack as the host.
Flack presented many of UK television’s biggest reality TV shows and their spinoffs, from The X Factor to I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here Now!, and won the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing in 2014.
She was arrested in December for assault and was charged with attacking Burton, 27, with a lamp at their home in Islington. Katie Weiss, prosecuting, told that court that Burton had “received significant injury to his head”.
“He said he had been asleep and was hit over the head by Caroline with a lamp, causing a visible cut to his head,” Weiss said. “She had also smashed a glass and had sustained an injury.”
Weiss said police officers found the couple covered in blood when they arrived at the scene. But Burton had not supported the prosecution, according to Flack’s lawyer, Paul Morris.
Judge Julia Newton released Flack on bail but imposed conditions on her, forbidding her from contacting Burton in any way until the trial.
Last week, Burton, a former professional tennis player, posted a picture of the couple together with the caption “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Flack posted an image of her dog.
Tabloids such as the Sun, which broke news of her death, moved swiftly to delete recent negative stories about Flack.
BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker was among the people paying tribute to Flack following news of her death. He tweeted: “Awful news about Caroline Flack. We really need to be better at taking care of each other. So sad.”
Eamonn Holmes tweeted: “Caroline Flack … Dear God. Shocked beyond belief. May she have found peace. RIP. Has to be repercussions for Love Island now surely?”
This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield paid tribute to Flack with a post on his Instagram stories. He added text above a message that Flack had posted on social media, which read: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
A former Love Island contestant Wes Nelson wrote a long message on Instagram describing her as “an absolute diamond” and “one of the warmest funniest people I’ve ever met.”
A statement posted on the official Strictly Twitter account said: “The entire Strictly Come Dancing family are heartbroken to hear this incredibly sad news.”
The show’s host, Tess Daly, also shared a tribute, tweeting: “Absolutely shocked and devastated at this tragic news. Rest in peace Caroline you beautiful girl. My heart goes out to your family and loved ones at this time XXXX”.
Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli tweeted: “Just can’t believe it... Always so much fun to be around, such sad news. RIP.”
A host of other celebrities joined the tributes to Flack on Saturday including Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, Jonathan Ross, Dermot O’Leary, Zoe Ball and Krishnan Guru-Murthy.