Love Island has paid tribute to Caroline Flack in the first show since its former presenter’s death.
The 40-year-old took her own life and was found dead at her London flat on Saturday.
In a short tribute, the voice of the show, Iain Stirling said: “You were a true friend to me.
“I’m going to miss you Caz.”
The show opened with aerial shots of a coastline and the sea and as the sound of waves played, Stirling began by saying: “We are absolutely devastated by the tragic news that Caroline, a much-loved member of our Love Island family, has passed away.”
He continued: “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this dreadful time.
“Caroline and me were together from the very start of Love Island and her passion, warmth and infectious enthusiasm were a crucial part of what made the show connect with millions of viewers.
“Like many of you, right now we’re all just trying to come to terms with what’s happened. My only hope is that we can all try to be kinder, always show love and listen to one another.”
His voice breaking, Stirling concluded: “Caroline, I want to thank you for all the fun times we had making our favourite show. You were a true friend to me. I’m going to miss you, Caz.”
The tribute ended with a photo of Flack on screen.
Stirling has proved popular for his witty one-liners, but his commentary was unsurprisingly muted during tonight’s show.
Before the show aired, ITV and Love Island sponsors Just Eat released a joint statement.
It read: “In light of this weekend’s tragic events, Just Eat and ITV have worked with Samaritans to replace the idents for this evening’s episode of Love Island so that anyone affected by Caroline’s death can access support.”
ITV cancelled its highlights show on Saturday and the main programme was pulled on Sunday “out of respect for Caroline’s family”, with the broadcaster saying she would “forever be in our hearts”.
It returned on Monday and played a tribute to Flack, put together by Iain Stirling, the voice of the show, and the team in South Africa, where for the first time a winter version is taking place.
In a statement released earlier, Director of Television at ITV, Kevin Lygo, said everyone at the channel was “absolutely devastated and still trying to process this tragic news”.
He said Flack’s “passion, dedication and boundless energy” had contributed to the show’s success, and that ITV had “made it clear that the door was left open for her to return”.
He also said the Love Island production team “remained in regular contact with her” and “continued to offer support over the last few months”.
Laura Whitmore, who took over presenting the dating show after Flack was arrested in December, tweeted on Monday to say this evening’s spin-off show had been cancelled following the death of her friend.
She tweeted: “There won’t be an Aftersun show tonight, big love to a brilliant and hard working team. @LoveIsland is on at 9pm… please show the islanders some love.”
On Sunday Whitmore fought back tears as she used her Radio 5 Live show to speak out against newspapers and Twitter trolls.
She said she wanted to use her platform to “call people out”, and give Caroline “the respect she deserves, and didn’t always get”.
Flack pleaded not guilty to assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton at a flat in London during a court hearing in December.
Her management company criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for pressing ahead with what it called a “show trial” even after her boyfriend said he did not support the case.
Actress Stephanie Davis is leading a petition for Caroline’s Law – a campaign calling for new and stricter laws to safeguard those in the public eye after claiming her friend had received death threats.
By Monday evening, it had more than 500,000 signatures.
Flack is the fourth person linked to Love Island to have killed themselves.
Sophie Gradon, a 2016 contestant, was found dead in 2018 at the age of 32.
Her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, who found her body, killed himself three weeks later, aged 25.
Mike Thalassitis, who appeared in the 2017 series, was 26 when he was found dead in a park in March 2019.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email email@example.com in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK
Love Island has paid tribute to Caroline Flack in the first show since its former presenter’s death. The 40-year-old took her own life and was found dead at her London flat on Saturday. In a short tribute, the voice of the show, Iain Stirling said: “You were a true friend to me.