Former Love Island Host Caroline Flack Found Dead at 40
Caroline Flack has died. She was 40.
The former Love Island host, who stepped away from the popular U.K. series after she was charged with assault in December 2019, was found dead at her apartment on Saturday, according to The Sun and the Daily Mail.
“We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February,“ read a family statement given to the U.K.’s Press Association. “We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time.“
In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for ITV 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.“
Flack’s lawyer, Paul Morris, also gave a statement to PEOPLE, saying, “I am utterly devastated at Caroline’s passing and cannot comment further about matters, including the criminal proceedings, at the moment. My thoughts are with Caroline’s family as we respect their privacy at this very sad and difficult time.“
“The most extraordinary woman. This is wrong. And I’m angry. This is so wrong,” The Sun‘s Dan Wootton wrote on Instagram as news began to spread, alongside a photograph of Flack.
“Caroline is one of the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever met. She was kind to a fault. She cared like no one else. She was vulnerable. Other people’s feelings meant the world to her. She deserved so much more. I am truly heartbroken. This is so wrong. So wrong,” he added on Twitter.
In her last social media post, which was shared on Friday, Flack, who previously dated Harry Styles in 2011, posted a quartet of images that showed her cuddling with her dog, which she captioned with a red heart emoji.
Flack’s rep did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The British TV presenter made the announcement that she was stepping down from hosting Love Island in December 2019, shortly before the start of the upcoming season, which is currently airing in the U.K.
“There have been a significant number of media reports and allegations in regards to my personal life,” she began an Instagram Story post. “While matters were not as have been reported, I am committed to cooperating with the appropriate authorities and I can’t comment further on these matters until the legal process is over.”
“However, Love Island has been my world for the last five years, it’s the best show on telly. In order not to detract attention from the upcoming series I feel the best thing I can do is stand down for Series 6,” she continued. “I want to wish the incredible team working on the show a fantastic series in Cape Town.”
Flack was charged with assault by beating in December, following “an incident at approximately 05:24hrs on Thursday, 12 December after reports of a man assaulted,” a spokesperson for London’s Metropolitan Police previously told CNN in a statement. The spokesperson confirmed that the man was not seriously injured.
A spokesman for Flack addressed the news in a statement to the BBC at the time: “We confirm that police attended Caroline’s home following a private domestic incident. She is co-operating with the appropriate people to resolve matters. We will not be making any further comment for legal reasons.”
In a court appearance that month at London’s Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, Flack plead not guilty to the charge of assaulting her boyfriend, a former professional tennis player and model, CNN reported at the time via the PA news agency.
At the court date, Flack’s lawyer, Paul Morris, reportedly told the judge that Burton did not support the prosecution and was a witness, “not a victim.” But the prosecutor reportedly insisted Burton “is a victim” and “sustained a significant injury to his head.”
Flack was released on bail with conditions that prevent her from having contact with Burton ahead of the March 4 trial, according to the reports.
Flack went on to address the court appearance on her Instagram Story, writing, “Thankfully I know a lot of you will not believe all that you have heard and read following today’s court hearing…Thank you for your continued support and love…It’s going to be a relief when I am able to give my side of the story, when I’m allowed to x.”
Burton, 27, also spoke out on his Instagram Story.
“It’s heartbreaking I can’t see my girlfriend over Christmas,” he wrote. “What I witnessed today was horrible. She did not hit me with a lamp…Arguments do happen every day in every relationship. Gutted I am not allowed to protect her right now.”