Love Island has aired a tribute to 2016 contestant Sophie Gradon who was found dead at her parents’ home last night.
The former Miss Great Britain shot to fame after she became one half of the first bisexual couple on the ITV2 show and had sex with a male co-star in a wardrobe.
A tribute to Sophie, 32, was shown at the top of tonight’s episode, which read: ‘In loving memory of Sophie Gradon’.
The former Miss Great Britain shot to fame after she became one half of the first bisexual couple on the ITV2 dating show and had sex with a male co-star in a wardrobe
Police yesterday rushed to Sophie’s £960,000 family home in Medburn near Newcastle, where they found her dead.
Her heartbroken boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, who Sophie branded ‘The One’ on social media hours before her death, penned: ‘I will never forget that smile I love you so so much baby your my world forever’.
Sophie, who attended the £4,400-a-term Dame Allan’s School in Newcastle, claimed she ‘sold her soul to reality TV’.
She documented her struggle with anxiety and depression on social media.
Adoring: Brokenhearted Aaron Armstrong penned: ‘ I will never forget that smile I love you so so much baby your my world forever’
She told her Twitter followers in September: ‘Hi guys, no not dead just battling a little bit of depression. I’ll come back I promise x.’
The model was friends with popular bar owner Paul Burns, 37, who died weeks ago and penned a poignant message after his death thanking him for, ‘being there when I needed someone’.
The star appeared on the 2016 series of the hit ITV2 dating show and won a legion of fans
Sophie passed away at her parents’ £960,000 home in Medburn, Ponteland. Her family were too upset to speak today
Sophie had recently paid tribute to her friend Paul ‘Conrad Burns’, who passed away at the age of 37 earlier in June
One week ago ago Sophie used her Instagram to promote a swimwear line while she enjoyed a holiday in France
Sophie documented her struggle with anxiety and depression on social media
While it remains unclear how Sophie died, police said there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.
It is understood Sophie passed away at her parents’ £960,000 home in Medburn, Ponteland. Her family were too upset to speak today.
Sophie confirmed her relationship with Aaron Armstrong, who is understood to be a boxer, on Facebook on May 29.
They were introduced by their friend Kalvin Banks, the director of a computer company and just three weeks ago Mr Armstrong joked to friends that he and Sophie were ‘planning their wedding’.
On June 15, shortly after returning from a holiday in the south of France, Sophie tweeted: ‘I genuinely feel that when true honest human souls get taken away from us, they are the ones who have found the meaning of life.’
In April Sophie documented her battle with anxiety, writing on Twitter: ‘Thinking back to when I became a total recluse, afraid to go out anywhere bc of crippling anxiety how different my life is now!!!
‘Facing up to your fears is sometimes the hardest but most rewarding thing!!!’
She wrote in October: ‘Feel so guilty when my anxiety takes over, for not wanting to see or speak to anyone. Some days I get so overwhelmed I just want to nap!’
Just two days ago Sophie was tweeting about the current season of Love Island and joking with other reality TV stars about the series.
A spokesman for ITV said today: ‘The whole ITV2 and Love Island team are profoundly saddened to hear the news about Sophie, and our deepest sympathies and thoughts go to her family and friends.’
There has been an outpouring of grief from Sophie’s friends and co-stars across social media today.
FROM PRIVATELY-EDUCATED SCHOOLGIRL TO MISS GREAT BRITAIN
The star was found dead at her home
An only child, Sophie attended the prestigious Dame Allan’s School in Fenham, Newcastle, where fees are around £4,400 per term.
It is understood Sophie’s parents Colin and Deborah own a landscaping business.
She graduated from Northumbria University with a 2:1 in Media, Culture Society in 2007.
She was spotted by the owner of Tyne Tees Models, during a night out in the town at the age of 16 before being signed up to the agency.
Over the years she juggled positions in marketing and recruitment with working as a model and reality TV star.
Sophie was crowned Miss Newcastle in 2008 and Miss Great Britain in 2009.
The 32-year-old broke 65 years of pageant tradition after she failed to pass on her Miss Great Britain crown at a ceremony in Somerset in 2010.
She was banned from attending because of a row over a train fine.
The lingerie model also dated rugby player Danny Cipriani for two months in 2013 after he split from model Kelly Brook following allegations of cheating.
In November 2013, it was reported Sophie dumped Cipriani after she claimed he was ‘too boring’.
The former Miss Great Britain was then said to be dating personal trainer Michael Thurston.
She hit the headlines in 2014 after she advertised for a house mate and was dubbed the ‘world’s most attractive house mate’
Sophie hit the headlines again in 2014 when she advertised for a house mate and was dubbed the ‘world’s most attractive house mate’.
She wrote on her online advert: ‘I’m extremely sociable and love nothing more than a good night out or drink in the house on a weekend with some chilled house music, candles good vibes.
‘I’m not a serious person, I like to laugh, a lot. I have zero tolerance for complainers or negativity!’
She went on to win a legion of fans on the second season of Love Island in 2016 when she found love with Thomas Powell, with whom she famously had sex in a wardrobe.
Later in the series she moved on with Katie Salmon, as they became the first bisexual couple on the show.
Over the years Sophie juggled positions in marketing and recruitment with working as a model and reality TV star
The stunning model posted this photograph on her Instagram on Wednesday – shortly before she was found dead
On Sunday Sophie posted a series of photos and videos on Facebook of her and her boyfriend enjoying Sunday lunch
Katie Salmon posted an emotional tribute to her former partner on Twitter
Sophie confirmed her relationship with Aaron Armstrong on Facebook on May 29
Just three weeks ago Mr Armstrong joked to friends that he and Sophie were ‘planning their wedding’
Sophie captioned this picture – taken from her holiday in France less than a week ago – ‘best friend’, ‘love him’, ‘partners in crime’
The were introduced by their friend Kalvin Banks, the director of a computer company, who posted this touching tribute to Sophie
Sophie won the hearts of fans on the second season of Love Island when she entered the programme and found love with Thomas Powell (pictured together), with whom she famously had sex in a wardrobe
Later in Love Island Sophie moved on with Katie Salmon, as they became the first bisexual couple on the show (pictured together)
Katie Salmon tweeted: ‘Fly high beautiful so high!’ alongside this poignant tribute
The 32-year-old posted gushing messages to her boyfriend on social media, including this one where she wished him a happy birthday
Katie Salmon tweeted: ‘Fly high beautiful so high!,’ alongside a poignant tribute reading: ‘Isn’t it crazy how someone so stunning, so smiley and appeared so happy can feel no way out. The world we live in behind social media.’
Olivia Buckland, who appeared in Love Island with Gradon, tweeted: ‘Awful awful news this morning. I am gutted.
‘I am so sorry the world failed you. You were such an intricate, creative, intelligent soul. Words fail me.’
In a second tweet, Buckland wrote: ‘You helped us through so much. Your smile was one in a million. The world failed. I send all my love and my thoughts to you today.
‘To your family and your loved ones. I cannot work out what to say. RIP you beautiful beautiful woman. I’m so lucky to have met you. £stayshapey.’
Sophie, pictured left on Love Island in 2016, had viewers enthralled with her antics on the show
The 32-year-old broke 65 years of pageant tradition after she failed to pass on her Miss Great Britain crown at a ceremony in Somerset in 2010 following a row over a train fine
The besotted young star had posted images of her new boyfriend and dog on social media
There has been an outpouring of grief from Sophie’s friends and co-stars across social media today
Geordie Shore star Holly Hagan wrote: ‘@sophiegradon you were only helping me battle the twitter trolls yesterday rest in peace beautiful’.
Love Island host Caroline Flack tweeted: ‘So very sad . Such a beautiful soul…. such a beautiful smile …thoughts and love with friends and family.’
Alex Bowen, who also appeared in Love Island in 2016, wrote: ‘We had lots of little chats and so many laughs. you were the the shoulder to cry on and a beautiful person with a beautiful soul. Shine bright in that sky Sophie gradon.’
Love Island winner Nathan Massey wrote: ‘Truly shocked and upset from the news this morning ! You was like a big sis to me in the villa. thoughts go out to her family and Friends ! RIP Soph.’
A spokesperson from Northumbria Police told MailOnline: ‘At about 8.27pm yesterday police attended a property in Medburn, Ponteland, where sadly a 32-year-old woman was found deceased.
‘There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. A report will now be prepared for the coroner.’
Ms Gradon posted a series of emotional messages on social media in the days before her death
The handsome couple shared their romance on Facebook and Instagram
Posting heartfelt messages on her social media accounts, the star wrote: ‘I feel very deep tonight. Reflecting on life what it means to live’
Sophie was banned from attending the Miss Great Britain crown ceremony in Somerset in 2010
Sophie was left devastated by the death of her friend Paul Burns just weeks ago.
Mr Burns had been in charge of popular bar The Botanist in Newcastle city centre but passed away unexpectedly on June 2.
Posting on Facebook after Paul Burns’s funeral Sophie wrote: ‘Today was all about you sweetheart.
‘What an amazing send off for our Mr Newcastle Paul ‘Conrad’ Burns. Thank you for being there when you recognised I needed someone, you are a true saint.
‘I only wish I had got to know you better. All my love and thoughts with your nearest and dearest.
‘I’ve never felt so emotional yet so uplifted in my life.’
Heartbroken: Olivia’s tribute read: ‘Awful awful news this morning. I am gutted. I am so sorry the world failed you. You were such an intricate, creative, intelligent soul. Words fail me’
On the show: Reports surfaced on Thursday stating the Newcastle native had died, shortly before reality star Holly Hagan shared a tribute to the businesswoman
Thomas Powell today retweeted a message from Holly Hagan, who wrote: ‘If you’re struggling right now, people care about you! I promise please speak to someone.’
Sophie, who had more than 400,000 followers on Instagram and more than 218,000 Twitter followers, took part in a talk earlier this year about the impact of social media on children.
She shared her own experience of online bullying as she backed the campaign to protect children from social media abuse.
Psychologist Emma Kenny, who took part in the same , described her as an ‘utterly lovely woman’.
Sophie attended the prestigious Dame Allan’s School in Fenham, Newcastle, where fees are around £4,400 per term
Fan favourite: She won the hearts of fans on the second season of the show when she entered the programme and found love with Thomas Powell
Friends and fans have praised Sophie for being a ‘beautiful person’
The woman who scouted Sophie in South Shields when she was just 16 has spoken of her devastation after the death of the star.
Lesley Lister, owner of Tyne Tees Models, spotted Sophie while she was on a night out in the town 16 years ago and signed her up to the agency.
She says she last saw Sophie just two weeks ago and said there was no inkling anything was troubling her.
Lesley said: ‘Sophie was the life and soul of the party, but she was also a really nice and absolutely lovely girl, a beautiful soul, a happy, smiley person.
‘She was always full of fun. Despite her success she was humble. It didn’t matter what job she did for us, whether big or small, she approached it in the same way.
Stepping out: Caroline was seen for the first time since the news broke on Thursday afternoon
Caroline paid tribute on Twitter, writing: ‘So very sad . Such a beautiful soul …. such a beautiful smile …thoughts and love with friends and family @sophiegradon ❤️’
‘She was also a great mentor to the younger girls. If any of them were having problems she would take the time to talk to them, and try and help.
‘She would make people feel much better. ‘Everyone absolutely loved her. She was a beautiful girl, but clever with it.
‘I first spotted her on a night out when she was 16. I went over and spoke to her and she was gorgeous, very enthusiastic.
‘She became part of the Tyne Tees family and the rest is history. Sophie knew exactly what she wanted and went for it.
‘We were all incredibly proud of what she achieved. She was our first ever Miss Newcastle and our first ever Miss Great Britain.
‘I last saw her a few weeks ago when she popped in to talk about her work as a social media influencer and everything seemed fine.
‘She was her usual friendly, happy self. She was an only child and I know that her family will be devastated. To die at 32 is tragic.’
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