Nikki Grahame, who shot to fame in Big Brother in 2006, has died, her agent has confirmed.
The star, 38, had been battling an eating disorder and reportedly been at a private hospital.
Confirming Grahame had died her agent wrote: “It is with immeasurable sadness that Nikki Grahame passed away in the early hours of Friday 9 April 2021.
I am so desperately sad to hear about Nikki Graham x my thoughts are with her friends and family xx she really was the funniest , most bubbly sweetest girl x❤️❤️❤️💔
— Davina McCall (@ThisisDavina) April 10, 2021
“Please respect the privacy of Nikki’s friends and family at this tragic and difficult time.”
Posting on a GoFundMe page that was helping her hospital stay, friend Leon Dee wrote: “It breaks our hearts to know that someone who is so precious was taken from us at such a young age. Nikki not only touched the lives of millions of people, but also her friends and family who will miss her immensely.
“We would like to request privacy at this difficult time, while Nikki’s friends and family process the sad news.”
Throughout much of her personal life, Grahame spoke of her struggles with anorexia nervosa. She had checked into more than a dozen centres in an effort to beat the disorder, and had written two autobiographical books based on her experiences.
Last week, Grahame’s mother spoke to ITV’s This Morning, and suggested that her daughter’s relapse had been triggered by the closure of gyms, and she had apparently been scared to eat if she could not exercise.
She said: “With COVID, it sounds crazy but stuff like gyms closing impacted her. In order for her to eat she needs to know she can exercise, so when they closed it was quite a worry, the isolation as well.
“I asked her if she would come and stay with me but she said she needs to be in her home. She felt very cut off and spending too much time on her own with not enough to think about other than food.
“It all came to a grinding halt.”
Grahame rose to fame on the seventh series of Big Brother, when she entered the famous house dressed as a Playboy bunny.
Davina McCall, who hosted the show when Grahame was a contestant paid her tribute on Twitter, saying: “I am so desperately sad to hear about Nikki Grahame.
“My thoughts are with her friends and family xx she really was the funniest, most bubbly sweetest girl x.”
While in the house, she became well known for her tantrums, including the infamous “who is she?!” rant in the golden diary room chair.
Grahame was eventually evicted just short of two months into the show, but later went back into the house and eventually came fifth.
The voice of the show, Marcus Bentley added his tribute, tweeting simply: “‘Who is she’? The best housemate ever! Night, night Princess Nikki!”
After Big Brother, she then went on to appear in other versions of the show both in the UK and abroad, as well as having her own reality series, Princess Nikki.
Others have shared their tributes to Grahame, including former Big Brother stars Jedward, who wrote: “Rip Nikki Grahame as fellow Big brother contestants we’ve gone through the same experience and having met you on tv shows! our heart goes out to your family and friends.”
Author and actress Juno Dawson wrote: “Nikki Grahame was a reality TV icon and I so dearly wanted her to be well. This is very sad.”
For help and support on eating disorders, you can get in touch with Beat Eating Disorders on 0808 201 1677, or 0808 801 0711 for young people