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Caroline Flack, Who Hosted ‘Love Island,’ Dies by Suicide at 40 – The New York Times

Caroline Flack, a well-known television personality and former host of the ITV television series “Love Island” and other shows in Britain, died on Saturday in London. She was 40.

ITV confirmed her death. A lawyer for her family said she had died by suicide and was found in her home, The Associated Press reported.

In 2015, Ms. Flack began hosting “Love Island,” a British dating-reality show on which the public voted off “islanders” until one couple remained.

She was replaced as host in December after being charged with assault from an episode involving her boyfriend, the tennis star Lewis Burton, The Guardian reported.

“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,” ITV said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement said that the show would return on Monday night, and would include a tribute to Ms. Flack.

Laura Whitmore, who replaced Ms. Flack as the show’s host, said on Twitter that she was “trying to find the words but I can’t.”

Ms. Flack’s management agency and team were not immediately available for comment on Saturday.

Ms. 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.

Ms. 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 Ms. Flack, called her “Caroline Whack” in a December story.

The tabloid faced online backlash in the aftermath of Ms. 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, Ms. 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.”

Ms. 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.”

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

Aimee Ortiz contributed reporting.

Source: nytimes.com

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