'My heart is broken': Caroline Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton in emotional tribute

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy

Caroline Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton has said that his “heart is broken” following the death of the TV presenter.

Love Island presenter Flack was found dead at the age of 40 at her home in east London after taking her own life.

Burton, who was not allowed to have any contact with his girlfriend since late last year due to her bail conditions over charges of an alleged assault on him, said that he would now be her “voice” and would “get all the answers”, in an emotional tribute on Instagram.

Beside a picture of them together, he wrote: “My heart is broken we had something so special.

“I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don’t think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking.”

Burton, 27, added: “I will be your voice baby 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 make you proud everyday.

“I love you with all my heart.”

Flack’s family confirmed that she died on Saturday, adding in a statement: “We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time and we would ask they make no attempt to contact us and/or photograph us.”

Lewis Burton at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in December. Credit: PA

Sunday’s episode of Love Island will not be broadcast following Flack's death, but the current series will continue on Monday, ITV said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the channel said: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection.

"All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.

“After careful consultation between Caroline’s representatives and the Love Island production team and given how close we still are to the news of Caroline’s tragic death we have decided not to broadcast tonight’s Love Island out of respect for Caroline’s family.

"Love Island will return tomorrow night which will include a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts.”

Laura Whitmore spoke of her 'vivacious and loving' friend Caroline Flack. Credit: Twitter/@thewhitmore

Also on Sunday, current Love Island host Laura Whitmore broke down as she pleaded for kindness in a moving on-air tribute to her "vivacious and loving" friend.

The TV presenter said she had been debating whether she "should, would or could come on air" in the aftermath of the tragedy, but said it was "the right thing to do."

In an emotional tribute, Whitmore held back tears as she spoke of her friend who loved to dance and loved music.

The 34-year-old also pleaded for her listeners to "be kind" - in a nod to Flack who posted a poignant message a few months before her death - writing "in a world where you can be anything, be kind".

Love Island will not be broadcast on Sunday night. Credit: PA

News of Flack's death prompted a flood of tributes from celebrities but also questions about the decision to press ahead with prosecuting for the alleged assault on Burton - something he said he did not support - as well as the pressures faced by TV celebrities from the press and social media.

Flack, who was described as “vulnerable” by her management, stepped down from presenting the current winter series of dating reality show Love Island after she was alleged to have assaulted Burton at her then-flat in Islington, north London, in December.

She entered a not guilty plea to the assault charge at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court and was released on bail, with conditions that stopped her having contact with her boyfriend ahead of a trial in March.

In a statement released on Saturday night, her management company criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for pressing ahead with what it called her “show trial” even after her boyfriend said he did not support it.

Francis Ridley, of Money Talent Management, said: “In recent months Caroline had been under huge pressure because of an ongoing case and potential trial which has been well reported.

“The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events.

“The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest. And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline.”

Caroline Flack was the former host of Bafta-winning show Love Island. Credit: PA

Talent agent Jonathan Shalit told BBC Radio 5’s Stephen Nolan that Flack received “more negative press than a terrorist or a paedophile” over the trial.

“These people might be famous, but they’re still vulnerable individuals,” Mr Shalit added.

The tragedy also puts the spotlight back on the pressures which come with being a TV celebrity.

Flack is the fourth person linked to ITV2 dating programme Love Island to have killed themselves.

Sophie Gradon, who appeared as a contestant in the show in 2016, was found dead at her home in 2018 at the age of 32.

Her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, who had found her body, killed himself three weeks later. He was 25.

Mike Thalassitis, who appeared in the 2017 series, was 26 when he was found dead in a park in March last year.

Among those paying tribute to Flack following her death were her former X Factor colleague Dermot O’Leary, who said he had “candles lit” in her memory, and her Love Island colleague Iain Stirling.

Stirling, the programme’s narrator, shared a video of Flack from a performance on Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 and wrote: “Today my friend slow motion walked into heaven. I will miss her always. Thank you for everything x.”

Olly Murs, who worked alongside Flack for several years on The X Factor and its spin-off show The Xtra Factor, said his children and grandchildren will know about Caroline Flack.

Murs, who is currently on holiday, shared a picture of them from their time together on The X Factor on Twitter as he paid tribute.

He said he was worried about her as he "always knew how fragile" she was.

Murs wrote: "Caz... f*** this hurts! My heart is forever broken.. I've lost something today that I'll never ever get back.. and that's you."

Recalling the first time they met in Birmingham in 2011, he said they had "literally 10mins to say hello, get mic'd up and head out to work together on Xtra.....

Channel 4 has said it will no longer air The Surjury, a new cosmetic surgery-based TV series with Flack as its host.

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org