Big Brother star Nikki Grahame has sadly passed away at the age of 38, following a lifelong battle with anorexia.
An announcement was made on a GoFundMe page raising funds for Nikki's medical care today (April 10) in a statement reading: "It is with great sadness, we have to let you know that our dear friend Nikki passed away in the early hours of Friday 9th April.
"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. Full details will be released as and when we know them."
The fundraiser had amassed £69,024 in donations for Nikki's care, with her starting to receive treatment back in March.
The statement added: "All donations have been greatly appreciated and it was heartwarming for everyone including Nikki to see how much she was loved. Rest In Peace, Nikki. We love you & not a day will go by without missing your smile. X X X".
Digital Spy reached out to Nikki's representative who said: "It is with immeasurable sadness that Nikki Grahame passed away in the early hours of Friday 9th April 2021. Please respect the privacy of Nikki's friends and family at this tragic and difficult time."
Nikki first rose to fame on appearing in Big Brother 7 during 2006 and quickly became a fan favourite contestant.
After being evicted from the house on Day 58 of the competition, she was voted back into the House Next Door by viewers, and eventually became eligible to win the show. Nikki finished in fifth place, and was romantically linked to fellow housemate Pete Bennett, who won the series.
Speaking in June 2020, Nikki reflected on her experiences on Big Brother 7.
"I hold fond memories of Big Brother, even though there were times where it looked like I was having a meltdown. Those meltdowns really were me, though. What you see has always been what you get – I can't be any other way," she told The Guardian.
"When you're in the show, it's like you're in a bubble. You forget the outside world exists at all. When you come out, it's crazy. It was a whirlwind. My feet didn't touch the ground for six months."
After her first Big Brother appearance, she went on to appear on her own series called Princess Nikki, and was a regular guest on other reality series and panel shows.
Nikki spoke candidly about her experiences with anorexia, anxiety and depression, including during a 2017 episode of the Channel 5 series In Therapy. She also wrote two autobiographical books.
Nikki would return to Big Brother on a number of occasions – notably finishing second in 2010's Ultimate Big Brother, the final series of the show on Channel 4. She also returned for 2015's 'Time Warp' twist on Channel 5, appeared in 2016's Big Brother Canada as a "wildcard" housemate, and made a cameo in the final series of Big Brother in 2018.
She was also a frequent guest on spin-off shows including Big Brother's Bit on the Side.
"I am so desperately sad to hear about Nikki Grahame," wrote Davina McCall, who hosted Big Brother when Nikki first appeared on the show.
"My thoughts are with her friends and family... she really was the funniest, most bubbly sweetest girl."
Rylan Clark-Neal described Nikki as "a Big Brother icon," adding that his thoughts are with her mother Susan and Nikki's close friends and family.
Beat (www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk) is a charity which raises awareness and understanding of eating disorders, and supports those affected by them. Beat now has a one-to-one secure messaging service. Its phone helpline for those aged 18 and over is 0808 801 0677, and there's also a dedicated Youthline for those under 18 – 0808 801 0711.
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