Former Big Brother star Rebekah Shelton, who appeared on the show in 2009 as Rodrigo Lopes, has died.
The news was confirmed in an official statement posted on her Twitter account in the early hours of Friday morning.
The post read: “We’re sorry to inform every one of the sad news that our wonderful and lovely Rebekah died unexpectedly on Wednesday night.
“We ask that you respect the family's privacy at this time.”
We’re sorry to inform everyone of the sad news that our wonderful and lovely Rebekah died unexpectedly on Wednesday night. We ask that you respect the family's privacy at this time.— Rebekah Shelton (@MissRShelton) January 12, 2018
The official Big Brother Twitter account paid tribute, posting: “So sad to hear that Rebekah Shelton, who appeared in #BBUK 2009 as Rodrigo Lopes, has passed away aged just 32. Our thoughts are with her friends and family, from everyone here at Big Brother UK.”
Fans also flooded Twitter with messages to Shelton following the “heartbreaking news”.
One user posted: “Such sad news. Absolutely heartbroken. Sleep tight Rebekah.”
Another wrote: “Such sad news. Was a fantastic housemate. Will be missed. X.”
Brazilian Shelton starred on Big Brother as Lopes, finishing in fifth place, before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2014.
She later opened up about her transition in an interview with OK!, saying her parents struggled to accept her new identity.
“The only thing I wish is that that my family will learn to accept me,” she told the publication.
“At one point before my surgery I had to leave home, and for six months of my life I turned to prostitution. So many times I wanted to kill myself because I had no one to talk to.
“It was a big step to go full time as a woman. It’s different when you are having fun with your friends in the clubs, to changing your whole life and facing the rejection or acceptance of the world.”