Brokenhearted. Nikki Grahame, who competed on season 7 of Big Brother UK, has died after struggling with a severe eating disorder. She was 38.
“Nikki Grahame was a much loved housemate and a huge part of the Big Brother family. We are shocked and saddened by this awful news and our thoughts are with her family,” a statement posted on the British reality show’s Twitter account read on Saturday, April 10, along with the link to Beat, a charity supporting those battling eating disorders.
A GoFundMe page had been set up by Grahame’s close friends in order to help raise money for her to receive “treatment in a specialist clinic” for her anorexia, which she had been “battling for most of her life.” On Saturday, the reality star’s friend confirmed that she died on Friday, April 9.
“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,” the update said. “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. … Rest In Peace, Nikki. We love you & not a day will go by without missing your smile.”
The organizers of the fundraiser added that “all donations have been greatly appreciated and it was heartwarming for everyone including Nikki to see how much she was loved.” The money will eventually go toward benefiting a charity that promotes eating disorder recovery in Grahame’s honor.
The U.K. native rose to prominence after finishing in fifth place on Big Brother UK in 2006. She later appeared on her own reality series, Princess Nikki, and was the runner-up on Ultimate Big Brother in 2010. Five years later, she returned for season 16 of Big Brother UK as a guest housemate.
Grahame later took her talents to another Big Brother franchise, competing on the fourth season of the Canadian reality series and landed in sixth place.
“There is something about this house where nothing else matters,” she said while making a special appearance on the U.K. series in 2018. “Big Brother has played such a huge part of my life, it changed my life for the better. I don’t have one regret, not one. It will always have a place in my heart. Thank you Big Brother, for everything. Literally, everything.”
The National Television Award winner detailed her struggle with anorexia in two books, 2009’s Dying to Be Thin and 2012’s Fragile. Earlier this year, Nikki’s mother, Sue Grahame, opened up about how the coronavirus quarantine had caused “terminal loneliness.”
Sue told The Telegraph in March, “This last year has just about floored her. From the first lockdown, it was hellish. She struggled because she couldn’t go to the gym. Then in December she fell down and cracked her pelvis in two places and broke her wrist. I stayed with her for three or four weeks because she couldn’t do anything. … I think last year really put the cap on it, with COVID.”
If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorders Association at 1-800-931-2237.