LAURA Whitmore has praised boyfriend Iain Stirling after his emotional Caroline Flack tribute in last night’s Love Island.
Viewers were left in tears as the 32-year-old comic’s voice cracked while remembering his close friend – and the former host of the ITV2 dating show.
Caroline was found dead in her London flat on Saturday after taking her own life.
Taking to Twitter after Iain’s poignant words aired at the start of yesterday’s programme, Irish beauty Laura tweeted: “Love you @IainDoesJokes I know that wasnt easy”, also adding a heart emoji.
Love Island returned to our screens last night after two days off air in the wake of Caroline’s tragic death.
The show’s chirpy theme music was omitted from the episode, and their Just Eat sponsorship idents were replaced with mental health helpine information and the hashtag “#BeKind”.
The episode started with footage of the ocean, with Iain saying in an emotional voiceover: “We are all devastated 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. Her passion, warmth and infectious enthusiasm are a crucial part of what made the show connect with millions of viewers.
“Like many of you, we’re still trying to come to terms with what’s happened. My only hope is that we can try and be kinder, always show love and listen to one another.
“Caroline, I want to thank you for all the fun times making our favourite show. You were a true friend to me.”
Clearly becoming overwhelmed with emotion, Iain’s voice cracked as he added: “Im gonna miss you, Caz.”
Iain and Caroline revived Love Island together back in 2015, with Caroline serving as the show’s bubbly host until this series, when Laura stepped in.
Laura previously broke down in tears as she passionately spoke out about her friend’s death on her Sunday morning radio show – just hours after hearing the news.
Prior to last night’s Love Island airing, ITV Director of Television Kevin Lygo released a statement addressing Caroline’s death.
He said: “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 shows 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.
“Love Island will return tonight and will include a tribute to Caroline that the team in South Africa and Iain Stirling have put together.
“Caroline loved Love Island and was very vocal in her support of the show. Viewers could relate to her and she to them and that was a big part of the programmes success. We will all miss her very much.”
Caroline’s devastated family announced the tragic news of her passing on Saturday evening, saying in a statement: “We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February.
“We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time.”
The TV presenter was due in court next month for assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton, having always insisted her innocence.
Lewis also denied the prosecution and made a public declaration of his love for the star in a heartfelt Valentines Day post on Friday.
Caroline’s managers have publicly blasted the CPS after they continued to prosecute the star despite Lewis making clear he did not want them to and there being no serious injury.
Lewis, 27, paid tribute to Caroline on Sunday morning, saying that he is “in so much pain” following her death.
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