Stars From Love Island You Didn't Know Died

The following article includes references to suicide.

"Love Island" is a hit television series about a group of singles coming together to embrace a whole summer of finding love and fostering romance. Relationships and friendships form and challenges are faced throughout the series. Ultimately, one winner has the chance to walk away in a relationship with their perfect partner — and a big cash prize (via CBS). The show's pilot episode, which first premiered in the U.K., has been watched by nearly 5 million people, according to ITV data (via Metro). In 2019, the successful series was recreated in the United States: "Love Island: USA." Now, fans on both sides of the pond can watch their favorites compete for love.

However, as much as viewers enjoy the series — and as many happy times as there's been on the popular dating show — "Love Island" has also been mired by tragedy. Sadly, a handful of "Love Island" stars have died since appearing on the popular show.

Love Island host Caroline Flack

The death of British TV host Caroline Flack came to a shock for many "Love Island" viewers. In December 2019, after allegations of assault were made against Flack by her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, Flack resigned from her role as the host of "Love Island" (via CNN). In February 2020, while awaiting trial, Flack, 40, died by suicide. Coroner Mary Hassell said, "Although her general fluctuating (mental) state was a background and important in her death, I find the reason for her taking her life was she now knew she was being prosecuted for certainty, and she knew she would face the media, press, publicity — it would all come down upon her" (via CNN).

Flack was one of Britain's most well-known celebrities, as she had an established career working as a host, presenter, and TV personality across multiple U.K.-based reality series, including "Love Island" and "The X Factor" (via IMDb). 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Love Island paid tribute to Caroline Flack

Many "Love Island" viewers and show contestants were saddened after the loss of longtime host and TV personality Caroline Flack. After her death, the reality dating show paid tribute to its former host. During the tribute, narrator Iain Stirling honored his late friend and discussed his and Flack's time together on the show. "We are all absolutely devastated by the tragic news that Caroline, a much loved member of our Love Island family, has passed away," Stirling said. "Our thoughts are with family and friends at this dreadful time." Stirling continued, saying, "Caroline, I want to thank you for all the fun times we had making our favorite show. You were a true friend to me. I'm going to miss you, Caz."

Flack's former boyfriend Lewis Burton took to Instagram, writing that his "heart is broken" in light of the tragic loss. Posting a photo of the two together, Burton shared, "I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers. Nothing will bring you back but I will try [to] make you proud everyday. I love you with all my heart."

Season 3 star Mike Thalassitis

Former host Caroline Flack was not the only "Love Island" star who tragically died. "Love Island" Season 3 contestant Mike Thalassitis was reported to have died by suicide on March 16, 2019 at 26 years old (via People). Thalassitis was found at a park near his home in North London. According to BBC News, the former reality star left a notebook with messages to his family at the scene.

Before becoming a reality star, Thalassitis was a professional soccer player. In 2017, he was featured on Season 3 of "Love Island" and in 2018, he appeared on Season 4 of the British series "Celebs Go Dating," according to USA Today

"Love Island" shared the news of his death on Twitter, writing, "Everyone at ITV2 and Love Island are shocked and saddened by the terrible news about Mike. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends." Many former "Love Island" co-stars also took to social media about the heartbreaking loss, including Montana Brown. Brown honored her late friend on Instagram, saying Thalassitis was the "kindest, sweetest person and I am so devastated and crushed that I'll never get to see you again." 

Season 2 contestant Sophie Gradon

In June 2019, 32-year-old "Love Island" star Sophie Gradon died by suicide. She was found by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong at her family home in Medburn, Ponteland, according to BBC News. She'd been previously diagnosed with anxiety and depression. At the time of her death, both cocaine and alcohol were present in her system, according to coroner Eric Armstrong. He revealed that he was "certain she would not have acted as she did without taking alcohol and cocaine." The coroner further explained that this dangerous combination can give way to "violent thoughts." "If Sophie's death is to serve any purpose at all," he said, "that message must go out far and wide."

Gradon's boyfriend shared the devastating news of her death on Facebook, writing, "I will never forget that smile I love you so so much baby your my world forever ever and always" (via The Sun). Just 20 days after Gradon's passing, 25-year-old Aaron Armstrong was also reported to have died by suicide (via The Guardian). 

After Gradon's passing, "Love Island" paid tribute to the former contestant on Twitter. "The whole ITV2 and Love Island team are profoundly saddened to hear the news about Sophie, and our deepest sympathies and thoughts go to her family and friends," the show wrote. 

Many Love Island stars expressed their feelings online after Sophie Gradon's death

After the tragic death of Sophie Gradon, many former "Love Island" stars took to social media to pay their respects to their late friend. Gradon made "Love Island" history as the first openly bisexual Islander on the show. Her former partner Katie Salmon, with whom Sophie became the first same-sex couple to appear on "Love Island," paid tribute to Gradon on Twitter. "Your smile will be remembered forever," she wrote (via Cosmopolitan UK). "My thoughts are with your family, friends and loved ones at this horrendous time. Too young, too sweet, too kind. I am sending all my love; I truly am, to everyone who had the pleasure of ever being in her company!"

Multiple other co-stars also posted their tributes on Twitter as well, including Kady Mcdermott, Olivia BowenRachel Fenton, and Cara de la Hoyde-Massey.

The series featured a tribute to both Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis

After the deaths of both Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, "Love Island" paid tributes to each of the former contestants during multiple episodes of the show (via Cosmopolitan UK). At the end of the "Love Island" season premiere in 2019, a picture of Thalassitis, who was featured in the third season of the reality show, appeared on the screen. Text accompanying the phot read, "In loving memory of Mike Thalassitis 1993 – 2019." A year earlier, the show paid a similar tribute to Sophie Gradon after her death. In 2018, "Love Island" dedicated an episode to the late 2016 contestant by displaying a photo of her at the beginning of the show and the words, "In loving memory of Sophie Gradon."

Prior to Caroline Flack's own death in 2020, the reality TV show host spoke with Cosmopolitan UK about Thalassitis' suicide. "None of us know what's going through someone's mind and we can't sit there and speculate. It's time to think about the bigger picture, about what's going on with young men and young people and the pressures of modern life," she said.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.