Caroline Flack: TV presenter dies at 40

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Media captionCaroline Flack won a British Academy Television Award for Love Island in 2018

Former Love Island host Caroline Flack has been found dead in her London flat, her family have confirmed.

A lawyer for the family said the star had taken her own life.

She stood down from the dating show after she was charged with assaulting her partner in December and was due to stand trial next month.

As well as presenting ITV’s Love Island she had co-hosted The X Factor and won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014.

The family said in a statement: “We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, the 15th of 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.”

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Caroline Flack / Instagram

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Flack last posted a collage of images to her Instagram followers on Thursday

Confirming Saturday night’s Love Island episode will not be broadcast, an ITV spokeswoman 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.”

Channel 4 announced their TV series called The Surjury, featuring Flack as the host, will no longer air.

Laura Whitmore, who took over presenting Love Island following Flack’s arrest, posted a picture of the pair on Twitter and wrote: “I’m trying to find the words but I can’t.”

From children’s TV to Chicago on stage

Many fans grew up with Flack since her breakthrough co-hosting Saturday morning show TMi with Sam and Mark on CBBC in 2007.

From there, she went on to front Gladiators on Sky One, ITV2’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! spin-off and The Xtra Factor, before moving to The X Factor itself with Olly Murs in 2015.

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PA Media

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Flack won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014

She cemented her popular appeal when she won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 with partner Pasha Kovalev.

She is credited with making Love Island one of the biggest shows on British TV and was the one to pick up the award when it won the Bafta for best reality show in 2018.

The same year, Flack made her West End stage debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago and even appeared on the celebrity version of The Great British Bake Off.

Assault charge

At the time of her death, she had been replaced by Whitmore for the winter series of Love Island.

Flack was charged with assaulting her boyfriend with a lamp after police were called to her home in December.

She pleaded not guilty in court later the same month and was released on bail on the condition she did not contact Burton.

Her solicitor made an application to have these bail conditions lifted, arguing that they remained a couple and wanted to spend Christmas together.

In a statement, her management company criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for pressing ahead with what it called her “show trial”, even after her boyfriend said he did not support it.

Francis Ridley, of Money Talent Management, said: “In recent months Caroline had been under huge pressure because of an ongoing case and potential trial which has been well reported.

“The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events.

“The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest. And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline.”

In response, the CPS said its “deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of Caroline Flack”.

“Given the tragic circumstances, we will not comment on the specifics of this case at this stage,” a spokesperson added.

TV host with popular appeal

By Ian Youngs, entertainment reporter

As the Love Island host for four years, the winner of 2014’s Strictly Come Dancing and presenter of hit shows like The X Factor, Flack was one of the most in-demand and well-loved personalities on British TV.

Her bubbly charm and popular appeal made her an ideal choice when Love Island was relaunched in 2015, and she helped make it one of the biggest shows on British TV.

Her profile made her a fixture in the tabloids, and her relationships – including with One Direction star Harry Styles and rumours about Prince Harry – put her on the front pages.

But her career was in the balance after her arrest on suspicion of assault in December, leading her to be replaced on Love Island by Laura Whitmore.

Read more from Ian

Stars pay tribute

Love Island star Wes Nelson called Flack “an absolute diamond” and said he was heartbroken at the death of “one of the warmest funniest people I’ve ever met”.

Amber Davies, Love Island 2017 winner, tweeted: “My heart is actually broken.”

TV presenter Davina McCall wrote: “I don’t even know what to say. But my heart goes out to her friends and family x I might be a bit quiet tonight on social media .. just doesn’t seem right .”

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Getty Images

Strictly’s Tess Daly said: “Absolutely shocked and devastated at this tragic news. Rest in peace Caroline you beautiful girl.” Her co-host Claudia Winkleman said it was “such heartbreaking news”.

This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield paid tribute with a post on Instagram, writing: “You poor darling girl my heart is breaking #BeKind”.

TV presenter Jonathan Ross said he had been in touch with Flack recently and “had hoped she was doing better”.

“She was talented and smart and likeable and she will be missed. It’s awful,” he tweeted.

Ant and Dec described the news as “so tragic”.

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