Love Island viewers were in tears as Caroline Flack was remembered in a touching tribute during the live final.
The last episode of the winter series of the ITV2 dating show aired just over a week after the programme’s former host was found dead at 40 having taken her own life.
Presenter Laura Whitmore became emotional as she told viewers: “The past week has been extremely difficult coming to terms with the loss of our friend and colleague Caroline.”
She added: “We’re thinking of her family and everyone who knew her at this time.
“Caroline loved Love Island, she loved love, and that’s why tonight’s final is dedicated to her.”
A series of clips from Flack’s time hosting Love Island and companion show Aftersun was shown.
Ahead of the episode, Whitmore had tweeted a thanks to her boyfriend, Love Island narrator Iain Stirling, “for a brilliant series and helping me every step of the way”.
She added: “Tonight’s show is dedicated to Caroline.”
Viewers watching the programme said they cried during Whitmore’s tribute and the montage of Flack’s highlights.
One wrote on Twitter: “Literally cried whilst watching the tribute for Caroline , love island wont ever be the same without her the kindness and support she provided the islanders just reflects what a great person she was Sparkling heartSparkling heart #loveIslandfinal.”
“Couldn’t hold back the tears watching that tribute to caroline flack on #loveisland,” another said.
One viewer said they were “crying my eyes out” at the tribute, adding: “still so unreal that she’s gone.”
One fan said: “Caroline you were and always will be the heart of love island.
“Your death has affected me in ways I never thought a celebs death would. Your memory will forever live on.
“Amazing tribute – now I vote for your face to become the LI heart RIP Flack #loveIslandfinal.”
Other fans praised the “beautiful tribute” to Flack, with one adding “I take my hat off to the Love Island team”.
Flack was replaced by her friend Whitmore on the winter series of Love Island following the late star’s arrest on an assault charge.
Flack was found dead at her rented flat last Saturday after taking her own life as she awaited trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27.
Finalists Siannise Fudge and Luke Trotman, Finley Tapp and Paige Turley, Luke Mabbott and Demi Jones, and Ched Uzor and Jess Gale were told of Flack’s death off camera before the last episode of the series, ITV confirmed on Sunday.