Former contestants on ITV's Love Island have shared an outpouring of love for Caroline Flack, who passed away on Saturday.
The statement read: "We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, the 15th of February.
"We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time and we would ask they make no attempt to contact us and/or photograph us."
Flack stepped away from presenting duties on the hit reality show after she was charged with assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton in December. Flack had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was due in court on March 4.
Series five Love Island finalist Molly-Mae Hague led the tributes, sharing a photo of herself with Flack on Instagram.
"I'm utterly shocked and heartbroken," she wrote. "Caroline you were such a special woman. Your huge smile will stay with me forever... Rest in peace."
Maura Higgins, who appeared in the 2019 series, posted: "Heartbreaking news," adding a note reading: "In a world where you can be anything, be kind."
Amber Gill, who won Love Island last year, posted pictures of herself and Flack from the programme on Instagram.
She wrote: "A supportive friend in a time of need. An amazing woman. I have no words.
"You will be truly missed.
"Thinking of Caroline's close friends and family. Sending love to EVERYONE."
Series three star Chris Hughes described Flack as an "amazing person" and criticised the press for their treatment of her. "Words can't sum this up. So sad. Another amazing person taking [sic] from this cruel world," he tweeted.
"When will people and and press release [sic] celebrities are humans, with the same feelings everyone else has. Can't believe to imagine the pain. God bless Caroline and her family. Rest tight."
Words can't sum this up. So sad. Another amazing person taking from this cruel world. When will people and and press release celebrities are humans, with the same feelings everyone else has. Can’t believe to imagine the pain. God bless Caroline and her family. Rest tight 😢 💔— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes_22) February 15, 2020
Wes Nelson shared a photo on Instagram, writing: "Caroline Flack was an absolute diamond, my hearts [sic] genuinely broken! One of the warmest funniest people I've ever met, I have nothing but great memories!"
An ITV spokeswoman 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."
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