LAURA WHITMORE fought back the tears during a powerful tribute to her friend and fellow Love Island presenter Caroline Flack during her BBC Radio Five Live show.
The Dubliner replaced Flack as the host of the ITV2 reality series earlier this year.
Appearing on BBC radio just hours after it was announced that her 40-year-old predecessor had taken her own life at her flat in East London, Whitmore struggled to maintain her composure while paying tribute to her friend.
The Irish presenter told listeners: “I wish we were talking under better circumstances and I’d been debating whether I should, would or could come on air today. But this isn’t about me, yesterday we lost someone before their time.
“At age 40 Caroline Flack made the decision to take her own life and I want to talk about it. I want to talk about it, I want to talk about her and give her the respect that she deserves and that she didn’t always get. Anyone who knew Caroline knew she was vivacious, loving and had a passion for life, which is why none of this makes sense.
“Caroline loved dancing. Angels by Robbie Williams always reminds me of her because she danced so beautifully to it on Strictly and I’m going to play that song after I’ve said what I want to say. Caroline loved music, she loved to dance. We shared many a dance floor at gigs, festivals.
“I met her just shy of 10 years ago at V Festival and then we became friends. She was bubbly and for such a small stature, commanded a room. She loved to laugh and had the most infectious chuckle. She also had many struggles. I’m not going to pretend that she was perfect, but is anyone?
“Caroline loved to love. That’s all she wanted. Which is why the show Love Island was important to her because it’s about finding love, friendship, having a laugh. The problem wasn’t the show, the show to work on was loving and caring and safe and protected.”
I’m trying to find the words but I can’t 💔 pic.twitter.com/FY3ppLzqsA
— Laura Whitmore ⚡️ (@thewhitmore) February 15, 2020
Whitmore replaced Flack on the winter edition of Love Island after the former Strictly Come Dancing champion was arrested by police on charges of assault following an altercation with her boyfriend last December.
ITV took the decision to find a replacement for Flack while the court case was ongoing.
Despite this, Flack was among the most vocal supporters of Whitmore landing the role.
In the days leading up to the new series Flack took to Instagram to show her support for the Dublin-born star, writing: "I'm glad it's Laura [that stepped in] She loves the show as much as I do.”
Whitmore had spoken in glowing terms about Flack and her efforts to ease the her into the high-pressure role.
“She has been incredibly gracious and supportive of me taking on the role for the winter series,” she said.
“She’s a brilliant host and I just hope that I can give the role the justice it deserves while she is taking some time off.”
Today my friend slow motion walked into heaven. I will miss her always. Thank you for everything x
— Iain Stirling | www.twitch.tv/iainstirling (@IainDoesJokes) February 15, 2020
Flack also went on wish everyone working on the new series of Love Island the best of luck ahead of the launch episode, writing on social media:
"Massive good luck to Laura, Iain [Stirling] and the team for tonight's launch show… the first one always the best one, Caroline x [sic].”