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Caroline Flack has been found dead

Photo: Getty Images

The former Love Island presenter has been found dead, her family has said.

They said: "We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February.

"We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time."

A lawyer for the Flack family confirmed that the star took her own life and was found dead in her east London flat.

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."

The 40-year-old had taken a step back from her TV work over the last few months after being arrested and charged with assault.

The current winter series of the ITV dating show, which is currently on air, went ahead but with Irish presenter Laura Whitmore at the helm.

News of Flack taking her own life marks the third death linked to Love Island, after former contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Graydon took their own lives after appearing on the show.

Flack's death comes just weeks before she was due to go on trial for allegedly attacking her boyfriend Lewis Burton with a lamp at her flat in Islington, north London, on 12 December.

She had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

During her court appearance, the prosecutor had said that after being cautioned Flack had said "she will kill herself", and called Mr Burton an "a*******" and "vile".

The court also heard that when police first arrived to investigate the incident both Flack and Burton were "covered in blood", and one officer "likened the scene to a horror movie".

Flack had recently returned to social media after a seven week silence, sharing her first post on Valentine's Day.

She had shared four snaps alongside her French Bulldog Ruby, captioning it simply with a heart emoji.

The post has been liked over 100k times, but has the comments turned off.

Burton, who was a former professional tennis player and model, had contacted Flack via Instagram just the day before.

Flack had been banned from contacting him as part of her bail.

The couple had been dating since the summer.

In a post before Christmas she had explained to her 2.3m followers: "Been advised not to go on social media... but I wanted to say happy Christmas to everyone who has been so incredibly kind to me this year...

"This kind of scrutiny and speculation is a lot for one person to take on their own, I'm a human being at the end of the day and I'm not going to be silenced when I have a story to tell and a life to keep going with."

"I'm taking some time out to get feeling better and learn some lessons from situations I've got myself into to.

"I have nothing but love to give and best wishes for everyone."

Following news of her death, tributes have begun to pour in from fellow celebrities.

Presenter Davina McCall who tweeted: "I'm so so sad to hear about Caroline Flack .I don't even know what to say. But my heart goes out to her friends and family x I might be a bit quiet tonight on social media .. just doesn't seem right ."

Eamonn Holmes said he was "shocked beyond belief".

Ex-Love Islander Wes Nelson wrote: "I can't believe what I'm reading! Caroline Flack was an absolute diamond, my hearts genuinely broken! One of the warmest funniest people I've ever met, My tears, thoughts and prayers go out to her family at this extremely difficult time! I'm lost for words R.I.P"

Laura Whitmore, who replaced Flack as presenter of Love Island posted a picture of the two together along with a simple poem about loss and the message "I'm trying to find the words but I can't".

It is not yet known whether Sunday night's episode of Love Island will air as normal.

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