Big Brother has paid tribute to its former housemate Rebekah Shelton, who died on Wednesday at the age of 32.
The transgender reality TV star, who was previously known as Rodrigo Lopes before her transition, appeared on the show in 2009 and won fans over with her personality.
In a tweet hours after news of her tragic death broke, Big Brother wrote: “So sad to hear that Rebekah Shelton , who appeared in BBUK 2009 as Rodrigo Lopes, has passed away aged just 32. Our thoughts are with her friends and family, from everyone here at Big Brother UK.”
The sad news was announced on her Twitter page in the early hours of Friday morning.
“We’re sorry to inform everyone of the sad news that our wonderful and lovely Rebekah died unexpectedly on Wednesday night,” the tweet read.
“We ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time.”
Rebekah had struggled to come to terms with her gender identity and spoke openly in 2015 about her suicide attempt.
She later told OK! that her family had trouble coming to terms with her wanting to live life as a woman.
Rebekah said: “The only thing I wish is that that my family will learn to accept me.”
She went on: “At one point before my surgery I had to leave home, and for six months of my life I turned to prostitution. So many times I wanted to kill myself because I had no one to talk to.
Fans flooded social media to pay tribute to the former housemate after her death was confirmed.
“This is such sad news. She was a beautiful soul. Died way too young. Rest in peace dear,” one said.
“Heartbreaking to hear about Rebekah Shelton. A beautiful woman inside & out, who suffered unnecessarily for being born in the wrong body,” wrote another. “Proof more has to be done to make the Trans community feel accepted & protected from discrimination.Only takes 1 unkind word, 1 unkind view…”
A third tweeted: “So sorry to read the terribly sad news about Rebekah Shelton thoughts are with the family at this very sad time, sleep tight Angel X RIP.”