Nikki Grahame has died of complications from anorexia, aged 38.
The former Big Brother contestant had been struggling with the eating disorder for years.
Her family recently started a GoFundMe page asking friends to support the reality star, with her mother appearing on This Morning earlier this month to discuss her condition.
News of her death was announced on the same GoFundMe page on Saturday (10 April).
“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,” a statement read.
“It breaks our hearts to know that someone who is so precious was taken from us at such a young age,” it continued. “Nikki not only touched the lives of millions of people, but also her friends and family who will miss her immensely.”
The page’s admin, Leon Dee, asked for “privacy at this difficult time while Nikki’s friends and family process the sad news”.
Grahame appeared on the seventh series of Big Brother, which aired on Channel 4 in 2006. She gained popularity for her frequent temper tantrums and relationship with eventual winner, Pete Bennett.
The reality star came fifth and, in 2010, was selected to appear in Ultimate Big Brother, which featured the series’ most famous contestants from its 10-year history. She finished in second place.
Her popularity on the show saw her given her own series, titled Princess Nikki, which saw her attempt several unlikely jobs, including deep sea fishing and mountain rescuing.
She is considered by Big Brother fans to be one of the show’s best-loved stars. The line “Who is she?”, in which she complained about new housemate Susie Verrico in the Diary Room, became a popular catchphrase among viewers.
Grahame opened up about her experience of anorexia in two books, 2009’s Dying to Be Thin, and Fragile, which was published in 2012.
She had struggled with the eating disorder since a young age, revealing that she attempted suicide several times after refusing to accept treatment willingly.
At 16, Grahame began increasing her weight after a six-month stay at Rhodes Farm clinic in Mill Hill, London, but relapsed two years later.
She eventually overcame the disorder, but relapsed twice more, once in 2011 and again earlier this year.
Grahame’s representative stated in March 2021: “It is with sadness that we can confirm Nikki’s battle with anorexia has worsened in recent months and those closest to her are doing everything they can to assist with her recuperation, most notably in the form of a GoFundMe page.”
Over the years, Grahame returned to the Big Brother house for numerous guest appearances.
In 2017, she appeared on the show’s final ever run, which was broadcast on Channel 5, and said of the Elstree and Borehamwood compound: “There is something about this house where nothing else matters. 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.”
For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677.
NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040.