Nikki Grahame‘s Big Brother castmates paid tribute to the tragic star on what would have been her 39th birthday on Wednesday.
Nikki’s body was discovered on April 10 in her London home, a day after she was discharged from Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester after a three week stay to treat her for anorexia.
The reality show icon was honoured with heartfelt tributes from her Big Brother series seven castmates, Imogen Thomas, 38, Glyn Wise, 33 and Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace, 42, three weeks after her death.
‘May your spirit shine forever’: Nikki Grahame’s Big Brother castmates paid tribute to the tragic star on what would have been her 39th birthday on Wednesday (above with Imogen Thomas in 2017)
Imogen shared a montage of poignant photos of the pair, writing: ‘Happy birthday my angel.
‘I hope you’re having a ball sipping espresso martinis singing and dancing to eastside.
‘I feel blessed to have had you as a friend and I will cherish our memories. Thank you May your spirit shine forever. Miss you and love u always Nik’.
Glyn, who finished second on the 2006 series, posted a black and white portrait of the pair smiling, writing: ‘Happy Birthday Nikki! You would have been 39 today! Hope you are happy!
Tragic loss: BB 2006 runner-up Glyn Wise paid a heartfelt tribute to his close friend
Tragic loss: Nikki’s body was discovered on April 10 in her London home, a day after she was discharged from Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester after a three week stay to treat her for anorexia
‘I laugh at this picture when we went to the photo booth at the Cinema – you told me not to be childish when I wanted our photo done by Van Gogh! The giggles! Xx I’m listening to Kate Bush for you right now!’
Aisleyne completed the tributes, penning: ‘Happy birthday baby girl, too precious and delicate for this cold harsh world, so much vibrance & kindness in one.
‘I know you’re in a better place still having fun… death is only painful for those of us left, as we miss you and wish you was still here with us, I believe you, and all lost loved ones are in a better place, a kinder more peaceful place… until we meet again, I will miss you…. dearly. I love you darling.’
Miss you: Imogen wrote: ‘I feel blessed to have had you as a friend and I will cherish our memories. Thank you May your spirit shine forever. Miss you and love u always Nik’
Nikki shot to fame on the 2006 series of Big Brother and gained an army of fans with her iconic phrase ‘who is she?’.
She was pictured with Big Brother winner Pete Bennett in one of her final images, as she cuddled up to her ex-boyfriend in the poignant snap.
Nikki had struggled with anorexia for much of her life and was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital at age 12.
Earlier this month, Nikki’s friends reactivated her fundraiser to help her heartbroken family pay for her funeral and help others with eating disorders.
The fundraiser was initially set up a month ago by Nikki’s friends and raised £65,000 for the Big Brother star to have specialist treatment for her eating disorder.
Precious memory: Glyn, who finished second on the 2006 series, posted a black and white portrait of the pair smiling, writing: ‘Happy Birthday Nikki! You would have been 39 today! Hope you are happy!’
Her friends posted a message reading: ‘We just wanted to let you know that we are turning donations back on for anyone that would like to make a donation in Nikki’s memory, as lots of people have been asking if they can still donate.
‘An amount will be used for the funeral costs and the remaining funds will be used to go towards an organisation that helps those suffering with eating disorders…
‘The crucial funding that has been lacking to help people in these awful situations has not been addressed, we will use this money to the best of our ability to try and stem this horrific, debilitating illness.’
Health chiefs recently launched an investigation into Nikki’s death, after claims by her family that she was released too early from hospital, having weighed just five stone when she died.
Tribute: Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace completed the tributes, penning: ‘Happy birthday baby girl, too precious and delicate for this cold harsh world, so much vibrance & kindness in one’
And sources close to Nikki later claimed the star would ‘still be alive today if she wasn’t discharged too soon’.
Now Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust, the trust which runs the hospital where the star had received treatment prior to her death, have launched a review into the case, according to the Sun.
A spokesperson for the hospital told the paper: ‘Staff at the Trust were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Miss Grahame, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Miss Grahame at this very difficult time.
‘A full internal investigation into the circumstances of Miss Grahame’s death is currently underway. This is in line with standard procedures following any sudden death.’
It comes after family members raised fears about Nikki’s release from hospital earlier this month.
‘You have no shame’: Imogen recently wrote: ‘I can’t keep quiet any longer. I can’t stand to read another sold story by Pete Bennett’ in an online row (Nikki and Pete pictured in 2016)
‘I won’t be shamed publicly’: The musician hit back at the ‘cruel’ mother-of-two to defend his social media activity, accusing her of ‘lying about him for attention’
Harsh: ‘You took a haunting photo of her, put it up on Instagram against everyone’s wishes claiming you helped her’, former beauty queen Imogen said (Nikki’s final photo above)
A source told The Sun: ‘Those close to Nikki feel she would be alive today if she wasn’t discharged so soon. Her family feel she wasn’t strong enough physically to care for herself. It’s left them shocked and heartbroken.’
Imogen and Pete have been locked in an online war of word – after Imogen claimed Pete, 39, ‘betrayed’ their late pal and her grieving family by ‘cashing in’ to reveal her final text and sharing a ‘haunting’ photo of her ‘against everyone’s wishes’.
Iconic: Nikki became a Big Brother icon when she appeared on the reality show in 2006
Pete previously hit back at Imogen and defended his social media activity, insisting Nikki gave him permission to post the image and accused her of ‘lying about him for attention’.
WHAT IS ANOREXIA?
Anorexia is a serious mental illness where a person restricts their food intake, which often causes them to be severely underweight.
Many also exercise excessively.
Some sufferers may experience periods of bingeing, followed by purging.
Sufferers often have a distorted view of themselves and think they are larger than they really are.
Untreated, patients can suffer loss of muscle and bone strength, as well as depression, low libido and menstruation ceasing in women.
In severe cases, patients can experience heart problems and organ damage.
Behavioural signs of anorexia include people saying they have already eaten or will do later, as well as counting calories, missing meals, hiding food and eating slowly.
As well as weight loss, sufferers may experience insomnia, constipation, bloating, feeling cold, hair loss, and swelling of the hands, face and feet.
Treatment focuses on therapy and self-help groups to encourage healthy eating and coping mechanisms.
Source: Beat Eating Disorders
The Miss Wales 2003 winner initially wrote: ‘I can’t keep quiet any longer. I can’t stand to read another sold story by Pete Bennett.
‘You Pete have no shame with your endless stories about Nikki. You saw her once within a year, took a haunting photo of her, put it up on Instagram against everyone’s wishes claiming you helped her.
‘You were not there for her. Now this is not about you – this is about Nikki. How dare you!
‘Please allow her family and close friends grieve and stop cashing in at every opportunity selling last tests is the ultimate betrayal. I’m disgusted and feel for her family. Enough.’ (sic)
In response, rock star Pete wrote: ‘In such a sad time of grief I’ve just had to witness Imogen Thomas trying to publicly shame me on her Instagram. You know, ‘Nikki’s best friend’. I’m sorry but how cruel can you get?
‘Now, About selling the final text, I didn’t sell anything, my tribute to Nikki in heat mag was from the heart and for no money and I sent love to nikkis family and friends in it too.
‘Contrary to what Imogen is saying, Nikki gave me permission to upload the final picture of us saying it was a ‘lovely picture’.
‘I put a link underneath the picture of the fundraiser to raise some funds for her care so she could get better whilst Imogen was promoting McCain oven chips and sending me daggers.’
The actor, who briefly dated Nikki during their stint on Big Brother 7, ended his post by claiming he’s ‘had enough of fake people and bullies’.
The Mind Set star added: ‘The only person who sent me any negativity at the time was Imogen whilst I was trying to do my best for Nikki.
‘Meanwhile everybody else has been supportive to me. I may not of seen Nikki as much as I used to see her the last year but we were always in contact and when I found out she was really ill I did everything I could to b there for her.
‘I’m trying to grieve for Nikki and this crazy ownership Imogen thinks she has over (who nikkis friends are) needs to be stopped.
‘I never claimed to be nikkis ‘best friend’ , but actions speak louder than words. Get over it Imogen, I was nikkis friend and leave me the f**k alone to grieve. Maybe you could do a nice tribute for her instead of lying about me publicly for attention.
‘Anyway I’ve had enough of fake people and bullies. And I won’t be shamed publicly for being a good mate when Nikki needed support and will stick up for myself in any way I can, Love you Nikki ❤️.’ (sic)
Nikki had previously admitted she was struggling to ‘deal’ with another coronavirus lockdown in what was to be her final social media post.
Alongside a video montage of some of her infamous tantrums in the Big Brother house, she wrote: ‘My reaction to the second national lockdown announcement.’
In her caption, she added: ‘Not this again….seriously can’t deal #lockdown #f**kcovid19 #fml.’
It is believed that the star was released from hospital in Devon a day before her tragic death.
A Big Brother icon: Nikki Grahame’s best bits on the hit reality show
Get her some BOTTLED water!
Early on into her stay in the Big Brother house, Nikki was suffering from a migraine and only bottled water would help make it budge.
She said: ‘I need water, I’m not drinking that tap stuff, it’s absolutely disgusting, I actually haven’t got energy to talk to you I feel so dehydrated.’
Despite being reassured the water had been filtered twice in the house, Nikki was still not having any of it and burst into tears.
She said: ‘I’m not enjoying it, I’m not. I hate it, I f*****g hate it!’
Memorable: Nikki was accompanied by housemate Dawn Blake to the diary room when she launched into a meltdown over bottled water
The stolen bed
A tipsy Nikki also ensured to command attention after repeating ‘that’s my bed’ several times when she found another contestant in her bed.
Sitting in the infamous gold chair she told BB: ‘Someones stolen Nikki’s bed, it’s my bed I don’t like it and I just don’t like it’
During the rant, Nikki was dressed in suspenders following a challenge the housemates were set.
Air con woes
The star always seemed to be cold in the Big Brother house and arguing with others over the temperature setting on the air con.
After wrapping up as well as she could, Nikki asked BB: ‘How are we supposed to get out of bed in the morning with the f*****g air con?
‘It’s a blizzard, I’m going to catch a cold’
Made the show: The star would often throw her arms around while reclining in the gold diary room chair and making her epic rants
Nikki was left very unimpressed after housemate Richard Newman finished off the cornflakes – and told her there was porridge oats she could have instead.
She explained: ‘He’s had four bowls of Cornflakes yesterday! Four! And they’re not just normal bowls, they’re f*****g mountains of Cornflakes!
‘Like a mountain, and a whole bag of sugar. We’re going to run out of sugar.’
Who is SHE?
Perhaps Nikki’s most iconic moment came after housemate Susie Verrico put her up for eviction and the star stormed into the diary room.
Arriving in her bikini, Nikki fumed about Susie decision despite ‘not even knowing her’, telling BB that she was feeling ‘very venomous and angry’.
Nikki’s next line cemented her in reality show history – and provided plenty of memes in years to come – as she said: ‘Who is she? Who is she? Who is she? Where did you find her?
And Nikki ended the rant with: ‘I can feel the venom pouring out of me as I breathe. I hate her, I tell you now. I’m going to find it very difficult to be pleasant to it. I don’t even want to look at it.’
Iconic: Perhaps Nikki’s most memorable moment came when she declared: ‘Who is she? Who is she? Who is she? Where did you find her?’