Former Big Brother host Davina McCall has led the tributes to reality TV star Nikki Grahame, following her death aged 38.
Grahame, who rose to fame as a Big Brother contestant in 2006, had recently received treatment for an eating disorder at a specialist clinic following a fundraising campaign organised by friends and fans.
A representative for Grahame 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.”
McCall, who hosted the reality series when it aired on Channel 4, tweeted she was “so desperately sad to hear” the news.
She added: “My thoughts are with her friends and family xx she really was the funniest , most bubbly sweetest girl x”.
Rylan Clark-Neal, who appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and hosted spin-off show Big Brother’s Bit On The Side, said on Twitter: “Thinking of Susan and Nikki’s close friends and family. A Big Brother Icon.”
Marcus Bentley, the long-standing narrator of Big Brother, referenced Grahame’s catchphrase on the show.
He wrote: “‘Who is she’? The best housemate ever! Night, night Princess Nikki!”
Channel 4, which aired Big Brother in 2006 when Grahame appeared as a contestant, paid tribute.
A statement said: “We are desperately saddened by the tragic news about Nikki Grahame and our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Nikki’s family and friends. For anyone suffering with eating disorders, help is available.”
Former glamour model Katie Price, who won Celebrity Big Brother in 2015, also shared a tribute.
She said on Instagram: “I’m just so shocked and so gutted to hear this news and really upset set to hear her voice message I never saw and just opened. Nikki you were fabulous and made me laugh so much RIP beautiful.”
Gerry Stergiopoulos, a contestant in 2007, praised Grahame for putting up “one hell of a fight” against anorexia.
He wrote on Twitter: “Nikki Grahame was bigger than life on TV. Yet in private she was a kind, sensitive soul, full of empathy.
“Feel devastated but I shall remember my friend as someone who put up one hell of a fight against Anorexia. Her legacy to be a better understanding of this horrific illness.”
Dermot O’Leary, who presented spin-off Big Brother’s Little Brother, replied: “Gerry, the worst news. Always a kind, fun, earnest soul. Very sad. Hope you’re doing ok.”
Big Brother housemate Mark Byron, who appeared in 2014, tweeted: “Most awful news about Nikki Graham. Really heartbreaking, she genuinely is an icon and I’m unbelievably blessed to have been lucky enough to work with her over the years. She lead the way for all of us BB housemates.”
Rebeckah Vaughan, who competed in the 2011 series, added: “I wasn’t in Nikki’s series of Big Brother but our paths crossed after my series. She came across as so fragile. She was a true big brother icon and I’m so sad for all her friends and family. rest in peace Nikki x”
Meanwhile, Coronation Street’s Daniel Brocklebank tweeted: “I’m deeply saddened to hear that Nikki Grahame has passed. We hung out a few times. The last time on stage together at Manchester Pride. A sweet, kind & fun lady. My love & thoughts go out to all who knew & loved her.”
Top Gear host Paddy McGuinness also remembered her, tweeting she was “definitely one of the stars from the glory years of reality tv. I met her a long time ago and she was a lovely girl. RIP young lady.”
Former X Factor star Joe McElderry said he was “grateful to have spent many fun times together” with Grahame, adding in a tweet: “My thoughts are with her family. Rest in Peace lovely girl.”
The Only Way Is Essex’s Bobby Norris, a close friend, wrote on Instagram: “Heartbroken to hear the tragic news of my friend and Big Brother legend Nikki Grahame’s passing.. Sleep tight bub.”