Referring to a fundraiser, launched in the weeks preceding Grahame is deadPete Bennett says in an online video, “I thought, yeah, we could save her. “
Bennett gets moved before adding, “But we didn’t. “
Grahame’s agent said she died in the early hours of Friday. She was reportedly treated in a private hospital for anorexia.
Bennett, who was in Big Brother 7 with Grahame in 2006, said he was “gutted,” adding, “We’ve lost a real character. Our series just wouldn’t have been the same without her. “
The amount of money raised for Grahame during the online fundraiser – nearly £ 69,000 – was “unbelievable,” Bennett said.
“We had a lot of money! And the amount of love and support for Nikki was overwhelming and heartwarming. “
In the video, Bennett points to a bottle of wine and says, “We really love you Nikki. You were a real winner. You were awesome. I miss you baby. See you later Nikki. “
In a post on his Instagram page, Bennett said he and Grahame have “stayed close over the years.”
He continued, “It was so nice to visit again recently with my girlfriend, singing Kate Bush songs and having fun like the good old days! I’m just sad that this was the last song we ever sang.
“Thank you for the memories, my friend, you will be sorely missed. I hope you no longer suffer and finally in peace. I’ll see you in paradise Nikki. Lots of love, Pete Xxx. “
Grahame and Bennett formed a brief relationship, but their romance ended a month after leaving the Big Brother house and they remained good friends.
Grahame later got her own show, Princess Nikki, won a national television award for Most Popular Television Contestant and published two books, the autobiographies Dying To Be Thin and Fragile.
In her books, Grahame has detailed how she developed anorexia when she was still a teenager and struggled with the disease throughout her life, spending time in the hospital on several occasions.
For help and support with eating disorders, you can contact Beat Eating Disorders on 0808 201 1677 or 0808 801 0711 for youth.