Celebrity Big Brother tragedies – show ‘curse’, cancer battles and sudden death

David Gest provided one of the most iconic moments in Celebrity Big Brother history, when word spread around the house that he'd "died" in a major mix-up.

Tragically, a matter of weeks later he really did die, with the showbiz legend found dead at a hotel in London in April 2016 at the age of 62 after suffering from a stroke.

Weirdly, David isn't the only name linked with Celebrity Big Brother to die before their time, with many fans coming to the conclusion that the series is cursed.

READ MORE: Inside David Gest's family will drama over £10million fortune left to attorney

Here, on what would've been David's 70th birthday, Daily Star is taking a look at the other tragedies linked to the beloved show.

Sarah Harding

Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding won Celebrity Big Brother in 2017.

During her time in the house, Sarah entered into a relationship with The Bachelor star Chad Johnson, and had some fiery rows with Ex on the Beach's Jemma Lucy.

She sadly died aged just 39 in September last year after battling breast cancer.

The pop star revealed her diagnosis in August 2020 and said the horrific disease had spread to other parts of her body.

After leaving the show, she admitted in her autobiography she'd had her doubts about taking part.

She wrote: "When I try to think back about the reasons I agreed to do the show, I guess I thought it could be a good platform for me to get back in the public eye in a positive way.

"Yes, I knew there were going to be a few tricky characters in the house with me – there always were on the show – but I felt I had something to prove, not just to other people but myself but to myself, too.

She added: "I wanted to prove I could do it. I also went in there intending to show people a different side of me. I'd also been portrayed in the media as this mad, off-the-rails party girl."

Jade Goody

Jade Goody became one of Big Brother's biggest stars after appearing in the third series of the show.

The nation fell in in love with Jade, who came fourth in the series – but in 2007 when she appeared in the celebrity version of the show – she was evicted after racially abusing Indian actress Shilpa Shetty.

Jade apologised to Shilpa before taking part in the Indian version of Celebrity Big Brother in 2008 – but the former dental nurse had to pull out of the show after she was told she had cervical cancer.

After chemotherapy was unsuccessful, Jade died the next year.

Her mum Jackiey Budden later told in a Channel 4 documentary that Jade thought her ­cancer could be a punishment for her controversial Celebrity Big Brother appearance.

She recalled: “One night she felt really scared because, obviously, she knew she was going very soon.

“She said, ‘Mum I feel like they’re coming to get me. They’re coming to get me. It’s going all dark’.

“She said, ‘Is that because I was so bad in Big Brother?’.”


Rapper Coolio appeared in the 2009 series of Celebrity Big Brother, and become one of the show's most controversial housemates

Coolio was accused of bullying and being a 'sex pest' by fellow housemates.

Ofcom also received 527 complaints over claims he was misogynistic' and 'sexist' towards singer Michelle Heaton.

Coolio tragically died, aged 59, last week after he was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his friend's LA house.

His manager said he died from a suspected cardiac arrest but but official cause of death has yet been announced.

Verne Troyer

Verne appeared in the Big Brother House alongside Coolio in 2009 after shooting to fame in the Austin Powers series.

One of the 2ft 8inch actor’s highlights during his stint on the show, included his rendition of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’s Endless Love with Ulrika Jonsson.

Verne passed away in April 2018, aged 49, from suicide through alcohol intoxication.

The actor's family issued a statement after he died that said: "Depression and Suicide are very serious issues.

"You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another.

"And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help."

Dustin Diamond

Dustin Diamond who played Screech in nineties classic Saved by the Bell, appeared in Big Brother in 2013.

His exit came after he received the fewest number of votes to save him from the public.

The star said although he was "buzzing" to be leaving the house he "had a great time" on the show, adding: "I loved everybody in there."

The actor sadly died aged aged 44 in 2021, just three weeks after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

His representative confirmed his tragic death, saying: "We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma.

"He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago.

"In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution.

"Dustin did not suffer.

"He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful."

Pete Burns

Dead or Alive star Pete appeared in 2006 series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Some of his highlights on the show included perform his hit song You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) to fellow housemates.

Just 10 years on from his appearance on the show the singer suffered a cardiac arrest and died aged 57.

A statement from his management broke the sad news, saying: "t is with the greatest sadness that we have to break the tragic news that our beloved Pete Burns of (Dead Or Alive), died suddenly yesterday of a massive cardiac arrest.

"All of his family and friends are devastated by the loss of our special star.

"He was a true visionary, a beautiful talented soul, and he will be missed by all who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories the has left us with.

"He will live forever in our memories."

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.


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