The death of Love Island star Sophie Gradon has been confirmed. But while the tragic news is currently dominating headlines, many of her friends and loved ones are tweeting about their precious memories of the reality star. Sophie Gradon's life, her career, and her beautiful personality, have all been the subject of tribute online since the news broke.
Gradon was a Geordie girl, a former Miss Newcastle, and a former Miss Great Britain in 2009. According to her LinkedIn, she graduated from Northumbria University with a 2:1 in Media, Culture and Society before going on to carve out a career for herself in marketing management. After just over three years at The Network-Technology Recruitment company, she was made redundant and was actively looking for new jobs on LinkedIn. However, that's when she heard a little show called Love Island was looking for contestants.
During her audition, she won over producers, and was given a spot in the villa where she became an instant favourite among viewers. Fans of the show obsessed over her relationship with Thomas Powell — in fact, so were the other islanders, who dubbed them the "power couple". For a while, it looked like they were going to win the competition. However, he was later dumped from the island while she stayed on and re-coupled with Katie Salmon after saying she identifies as bisexual. They were the first and only same-sex couple the series has ever had to date.
However, Gradon, who previously dated rugby star Danny Cipriani, called off her relationship with Salmon after realising she still had feelings for Powell. She then quit the show and got back in touch with Powell to see if they could work things out. Days later, they were officially boyfriend and girlfriend.
Sadly, the relationship didn't last and the couple were over for good by November 2016. On Instagram, she told her loyal army of followers: "Some people are meant to fall in love with each other, but not be together." Later, they bother accused the other of being unfaithful in the relationship.
During her time on Love Island and afterwards, Gradon proved she was a feminist and spoke out about women's rights. After her fellow islander Zara Holland was stripped of her Miss Great Britain title for having sex in the villa, Gradon was quick to criticise the pageant's organisers, despite having previously held the title herself. "As an ex Miss Newcastle and Miss GB I can say that it’s time people moved forward from their old fashioned thinking and accepted the simple fact that women like to have sex," she said on the show. "Life shouldn’t be about judging one another. For example, judging a young woman for enjoying herself."
When Holland paid tribute to Gradon following news of her death on Thursday morning, she remembered everything she'd done for her. Holland wrote on Twitter:
Gradon died at the age of 32 on Wednesday, June 20. The tragic news was confirmed by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong via Facebook on Thursday morning in a heartbreaking message which read: "I will never forget that smile I love you so so much baby your my world forever ever and always."
A representative from the Northumbria Police released a statement to Bustle shortly afterwards, reading: "At about 8.27 p.m. yesterday (June 20) police attended a property in Medburn, Ponteland, where sadly a 32-year-old woman was found deceased. There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. A report will now be prepared for the coroner."
Gradon was tweeting and posting on Instagram up until a couple of days ago. On Father's Day, she wrote a sweet message to her dad. It read: "You are my rock & my absolute world, always full of adventure!!! Dadda, I love you so much."
Meanwhile, on Facebook, Gradon had just confirmed her new relationship with Armstrong on May 29, although friends that commented on the relationship status update hinted they had been together for much longer. Two weeks ago, the couple were in Antibes, France, celebrating Armstrong's birthday. In a gushing Facebook posted, Gradon described him as "the love of my life" and called their break away "magical". She added: "Here’s to laughing so hard that we piss ourselves & creating more PURELY LEATHAL memories together."
A spokesperson for ITV tells Bustle: "The whole ITV2 and Love Island team are profoundly saddened to hear the news about Sophie, and our deepest sympathies and thoughts go to her family and friends."