Big Brother star Nikki Grahame dies, aged 38

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Catherine Gee
·3 min read
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Nikki Grahame died on Friday 9 April
Nikki Grahame died on Friday 9 April

Reality TV star Nikki Grahame, who rose to fame as a contestant on Big Brother, has died at the age of 38. She had been suffering from anorexia.

Grahame, originally from Northwood in London, appeared on the seventh series of Big Brother in 2006 and quickly became one of the show's most recognisable contestants, complete with her own catchphrase that was born when she shouted "who is she?" repeatedly in the diary room.

She became a regular in the tabloid press but she was also struggling with a long-term eating disorder that had worsened during lockdown. She had been receiving treatment at a specialist clinic following a fundraising campaign organised by friends and fans which managed to raise more than £65,000.

It was on this GoFundMe page that they announced her death on Friday 9 April. "It is with great sadness, we have to let you know that our dear friend Nikki passed away," the statement said. "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.

Sue and Nikki Grahame
Sue and Nikki Grahame

"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."

Last month Grahame's mother, Sue, spoke to the Telegraph about her daughter's struggle with the disease. She recounted how Nikki had been hospitalised as young as nine years old and had suffered from the illness since she was seven.

“We’ve been on this road a long time, 30 years on and off, and I’ve never seen her this bad,” she said.

Before the pandemic, Nikki had been working in a school, having recently gone back to education, taking courses in English and Science and had just finished a course on caring for children with special needs.

“This last year has just about floored her… From the first lockdown, it was hellish," said her mother. "She struggled because she couldn’t go to the gym. Then in December she fell down and cracked her pelvis in two places and broke her wrist. I stayed with her for three or four weeks because she couldn’t do anything.”

It was then that her friends set up the fundraiser in the hope that a stay in hospital would help her recover. "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," they wrote.

"This is why we feel that getting her treatment in a specialist clinic is the only option left for her. We are praying this gives her the chance of kicking this illness to the curb once and for all."

Rylan Clark-Neal, Michelle Visage and Vanessa Feltz were among those than donated.

Big Brother hosts Davina McCall and Clark-Neal have paid tribute to Grahame on social media.

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After finishing fifth on Big Brother, she subsequently secured her own show, Princess Nikki, won a National Television Award and published two books about her struggles with mental illness, the autobiographies Dying To Be Thin and Fragile.

As well as being a TV regular in the UK, she returned to Big Brother for the show Ultimate Big Brother in 2010 and appeared on Big Brother Canada in 2016.

For advice and support on anorexia, contact Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity