TRIBUTES for Nikki Grahame have poured in from her pals after her tragic death at age 38.
The Big Brother star checked into a private hospital to treat her eating disorder last month after her desperate friends managed to raise more than £65,500 to start paying for life-saving care.
Now celebrities have paid tribute to Nikki, who shot to fame in the Big Brother 2006.
Celebrity Big Brother stars Jedward said: “Rip Nikki Grahame as fellow Big brother contestants we’ve gone through the same experience and having met you on tv shows! our heart goes out to your family and friends “
X Factor star Joe McElderry said: “Really sad to hear the passing of @NikkiGrahame grateful to have spent many fun times together my thoughts are with her family. Rest in Peace lovely girl”
Towie’s Mario Falcone said: “RIP Nikki Grahame. Sad news. Just 38 years old”
Her passing was announced on her GoFundMe page, with the statement reading: “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.
“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.
“Full details will be released as and when we know them.”
It continued: “All donations have been greatly appreciated and it was heartwarming for everyone including Nikki to see how much she was loved.”
Nikki’s mum Sue appeared on This Morning last week and said her daughter’s health battle was sparked when gyms closed during lockdown as the star dreaded eating if she couldn’t exercise.
She said: “With Covid, it sounds crazy but stuff like gyms closing impacted her.
“In order for her to eat she needs to know she can exercise, so when they closed it was quite a worry, the isolation as well.
“I asked her if she would come and stay with me but she said she needs to be in her home.”
“She was (suffering terminal loneliness) she felt very cut off and spending too much time on her own with not enough to think about other than food.
“It all came to a grinding halt. Also for Nikki, she would muddle herself through the year knowing she’s got friends abroad and she would visit them.
“She spent a lot of time last year cancelling holidays.”
Sue said she had a message for her daughter’s fans: “I heard from Nikki this morning and she said, ‘please stress how overwhelmed I am at people’s kindness towards me. I am so grateful.’
“But she said ‘also tell everybody I’m going to try my level best to beat this’.”
The fundraiser’s target was initially £25,000, with big-hearted celebs including Rylan Clark-Neal, Michelle Visage, and Vanessa Feltz each donating £500.
Nikki’s representative told The Sun at the time: “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 Go Fund Me page.
“We are confident Nikki will be able to make a full recovery and she would personally like to thank everyone for their kind words, wishes and donations today and beyond.”
Helplines on eating disorders and body image
For help and support on eating disorders and body image, you can call Beat Eating Disorders.
Their adult helpline is 0808 201 1677. The youth helpline is on 0808 801 0711
Nikki’s friends desperately tried to raise the cash as they believed a specialist clinic was her “last hope”.
Her pals Carly and Leon explained on the fundraiser page: “Over the past years Nikki’s family and friends have tried so desperately to get Nikki all the help possible through the NHS but unfortunately the treatments have failed and we have exhausted every avenue possible, and now Nik is unfortunately in a very bad way, this is now our last hope.
“At the moment, Nikki constantly feels weak and is struggling on a day to day basis,” they wrote.
“She feels trapped and really wants to get better but feels like it’s impossible. It’s heart-breaking and we desperately just want a healthy and well Nikki back with us.
“She has no energy and is taking each day as it comes.”
She has been fighting the illness since she was a child, and was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the age of 12 following a suicide bid.
At one point, Nikki had to be force fed through a nasal tube after she starved herself.
- For help and support on eating disorders and body image, you can call Beat Eating Disorders on 0808 201 1677 for adults, or 0808 801 0711 if you are under 18.