The director of television at ITV has said the “door was left open” for Caroline Flack to return to her role presenting Love Island.
He said: “Everyone at ITV is absolutely devastated and still trying to process this tragic news.”
“Caroline was part of Love Island from the very beginning and her passion, dedication and boundless energy contributed to the show’s success.
“After Caroline stepped down from the show, ITV made it clear that the door was left open for her to return and the Love Island production team remained in regular contact with her and continued to offer support over the last few months.
“Love Island will return tonight and will include a tribute to Caroline that the team in South Africa and Iain Stirling have put together.
“Caroline loved Love Island and was very vocal in her support of the show. Viewers could relate to her and she to them and that was a big part of the programme’s success. We will all miss her very much.”
It is the first time Mr Lygo has spoken publicly since Flack was found dead in her flat on Saturday after taking her own life.
She had been awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting her 27-year-old boyfriend Lewis Burton last year, despite him saying he did not support the prosecution.
After being charged, the 40-year-old had stepped down from hosting the reality TV show – which she had fronted for five series – and was replaced by Laura Whitmore for the winter version earlier this year.
Ex-Hollyoaks actress Stephanie Davis told Sky News’ KayBurley@Breakfast that her friend had been “destroyed” by negative press and social media posts, and had also been receiving death threats.
She said: “[Caroline] was destroyed by it all. She had nowhere to turn, she was getting death threats. People online, bullying, that needs to stop. What’s happened to us all being kind humans, helping each other?
“Why are we all jumping on people? Why can’t we say ‘you are clearly struggling, you clearly need help with your mental health, let’s find you a way out, let’s make this better?’
“It’s not fair what the media has done, it’s really not fair.”
She also said she had reached out to Flack over the pressures she was under, describing her portrayal in the media as “a big bad villain”.
Davis is leading a petition for Caroline’s Law – a campaign calling for new and stricter laws to safeguard those in the public eye.
It has so far received hundreds of thousands of signatures.
Meanwhile, the star’s former fiance Andrew Brady has said prosecutors in the assault case were not to blame for her death, and pointed instead toward her treatment by the British media.
“Can’t you see. Yes Caroline had problems. Why wouldn’t she. You made out to be a monster. A complete witch hunt,” he wrote on Instagram.
“Every f***ing week. You f***ing broke her. I won’t let you break me no matter what.”
Ex-Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona also commented on the reported pressures Flack faced, saying: “It could have easily been me.”
Speaking to Sky News, she said: “I know how it feels to feel that low… When you lose all your contracts and everyone turns against you.”
People who post negative comments on social media “don’t understand the impact it has on your mental health,” she added.
The mother-of-five also expressed support for Davis’ call for stricter rules on what the press can publish.
Love Island is set to return to ITV2 on Monday night and will include a tribute to Flack after being taken off air over the weekend.
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