17/02/2020 21:10 GMT | Updated 17/02/2020 21:43 GMT

Love Island Honours Former Host Caroline Flack With Personal Tribute From Iain Stirling

The episode opened with the show's narrator heartbreakingly saying: "I'm going to miss you, Caz."

Love Island has honoured its former presenter Caroline Flack with an on-air tribute from the show’s narrator Iain Stirling, following her death at the age of 40. 

The TV host was found dead at her London home after taking her own life on Saturday. 

ITV decided not to air the reality show on Sunday out of respect to Caroline and her family following the news. The Unseen Bits spin-off also did not air on Saturday night. 

As the show returned on Monday, the episode opened with a personal tribute from Iain, who heartbreakingly said: “You were a true friend. I’m going to miss you, Caz.”

Caroline Flack died on Saturday at the age of 40

Speaking over a montage of beach scenery and crashing waves, Iain said: “We are absolutely devastated by the tragic news that Caroline, a much-loved member of our Love Island family, has passed away.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this dreadful time. Caroline and me were together from the very start of Love Island and her passion, warmth and infectious enthusiasm were a crucial part of what made the show connect with millions of viewers.”

He continued: “Like many of you, right now we’re all just trying to come to terms with what’s happened. My only hope is that we can all try to be kinder, always show love and listen to one another.”

Becoming emotional, he concluded: “Caroline, I want to thank you for all the fun times we had making our favourite show. You were a true friend to me. I’m going to miss you, Caz.”

The tribute ended with a photo of Caroline on screen.

A picture of Caroline was shown at the end of narrator Iain Stirling's tribute

The show’s presenter Laura Whitmore, who is also Iain’s girlfriend, tweeted: “Love you @IainDoesJokes I know that wasn’t easy”.

As part of Monday night’s episode, Love Island’s commercial sponsor Just Eat worked with ITV and Samaritans to replace the usual idents so that anyone affected by Caroline’s death could access support.

Iain and Caroline had worked together since 2015

Meanwhile, Love Island companion series Aftersun, which usually airs on Monday night, was also cancelled this week, while ITV also confirmed the show’s official podcast, The Morning After, will not be released on Tuesday. 

Caroline had presented the first five series of Love Island after it was rebooted in 2015 by ITV2. 

She stepped down from hosting the sixth series following her arrest and subsequent charge for assault in December. 

Caroline was due to face trial in March after pleading not guilty to assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton at her home.

Ahead of the show’s return, ITV’s director of television, Kevin Lygo, also doubled down on the broadcaster’s insistence it “constantly” offered guidance and support to Caroline after her arrest. 

He said in a statement: “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.”

A Love Island spokesperson previously said: “Caroline was a much loved member of the Love Island team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends.”

Caroline hosted the first five series of Love Island

Laura Whitmore took over as the host of Love Island last month, and on Sunday she paid heart-wrenching tribute to her friend and colleague on her BBC Radio 5Live show. 

“Anyone who knew Caroline knew she was vivacious, loving and had a passion for life, which is why none of this makes sense,” she said. 

Many other famous faces, including Caroline’s former X Factor co-host Olly Murs, also paid tribute online

David M. Benett via Getty Images
Laura Whitmore had been standing in for Caroline on Love Island

Caroline’s boyfriend Lewis Burton, who she had been banned from contacting as she awaited trial, said he was “in so much pain” after her death. 

He wrote on Instagram: “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.”

Following her death, Caroline’s management blasted the Crown Prosecution Service in a strongly-worded statement for pursuing “a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest”. 

Downing Street described Caroline’s death as a “tragedy”.

A No.10 spokesperson said: “Caroline’s death was a tragedy and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.