Love Island tonight paid tribute to its former host Caroline Flack following her death at the weekend.
The presenter, who fronted the programme from 2015 to 2019, was found dead at her London flat on Saturday, February 15 after taking her own life at the age of 40.
Out of respect for the star’s family and her grief-stricken colleagues and fans, the show’s Saturday and Sunday episodes were shelved.
But during tonight’s episode of the winter version of the reality series, ITV paid its respects to the star who simply adored Love Island.
The moving segment was put together by Caroline’s friend and the show’s narrator Iain Stirling, alongside the crew she loved.
Over beautiful sea and sunshine landscape a clearly choked Iain thanked Caroline for her friendship, spoke of how important she was to the show and sent his thoughts to her family.
— Love Island (@LoveIsland) February 17, 2020
It was incredibly moving for everyone watching.
Aw the opening of @LoveIsland has had me in tears! What a sad, sad few days! Really hope you’re at peace now Caroline😢💜💜💜💜
— Bethany (@BethRonson_) February 17, 2020
Bless Iain, really choked me up that did ❤️x rip Caroline x #loveisland
— EllieGray🌱 (@itselliegray) February 17, 2020
Just Eat, sponsors of the show, replaced the adverts in between the show with Samaritans’.
A statement explained: “In light of this weekend’s tragic events, Just Eat and ITV have worked with Samaritans to replace the idents for this evening’s episode of Love Island so that anyone affected by Caroline’s death can access support.”
ITV Director of Television Kevin Lygo said on Monday afternoon: “Everyone at ITV is absolutely devastated and still trying to process this tragic news. Caroline was part of Love Island from the very beginning and her passion, dedication and boundless energy contributed to the show’s success.
“After Caroline stepped down from the show ITV made it clear that the door was left open for her to return and the Love Island production team remained in regular contact with her and continued to offer support over the last few months.
“Love Island will return tonight and will include a tribute to Caroline that the team in South Africa and Iain Stirling have put together.
“Caroline loved Love Island and was very vocal in her support of the show. Viewers could relate to her and she to them and that was a big part of the programme’s success. We will all miss her very much.”
A statement from ITV on Sunday evening read: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.
“After careful consultation between Caroline’s representatives and the Love Island production team and given how close we still are to the news of Caroline’s tragic death we have decided not to broadcast tonight’s Love Island out of respect for Caroline’s family.
“Love Island will return tomorrow night which will include a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts.”
It comes after ITV called Caroline a “much-loved member of the Love Island team” in a tribute shared to social media after news broke of her death.
The statement 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.”
Saturday night’s The Unseen Bits episode was pulled from the schedule following the news.
Earlier in the day, Caroline’s family issued a statement and asked for “respect and privacy”.
Everybody at Love Island and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news.
It read: “We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February. We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time.”
The news has shocked the showbiz world with many celebrities paying tribute on social media.
Iain shared a video of Caroline dancing on Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 to Robbie Williams’ Angels.
Today my friend slow motion walked into heaven. I will miss her always. Thank you for everything x
— Iain Stirling (@IainDoesJokes) February 15, 2020
He wrote: “Today my friend slow motion walked into heaven. I will miss her always. Thank you for everything.”
Iain’s girlfriend Laura Whitmore – who replaced Caroline as host of the winter Love Island this year – wrote on Instagram: “I’m trying to find the words but I can’t,” followed by a broken heart emoji.
She also posted a poem which said: “To lose someone so special is really hard to bear, it hardly seems believable that you’re no longer there.
I’m trying to find the words but I can’t 💔 pic.twitter.com/FY3ppLzqsA
— Laura Whitmore (@thewhitmore) February 15, 2020
“You left us far too early, before your time, it seems and now you’ll never have the chance to fulfil all those dreams.
“However hard it is though we’ll take comfort in the thought of all the memories we have and the happiness you brought. You always lived life to the full but ours won’t be the same until the day when we can see your smiling face again.”
Caroline stepped down from the Winter Love Island after she was arrested and charged with assault for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton in December.
She was due to stand trial on March 4 after pleading not guilty.
The star began presenting the ITV2 reality show in 2015 and became a TV favourite among fans.
The programme was a revival of the earlier celebrity series, which aired for two series in 2005 and 2006 on ITV.
In 2018, the show won a BAFTA Award for Best Reality and Constructed Factual Show.
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