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Pete Bennett has been seen fighting back tears as he spoke out about his pal Nikki Grahame's tragic death at the age of 38.
The Big Brother star, who looks completely unrecognisable since winning the show in 2006, appeared on Sky News as he recalled how she had called him for help during the latest national lockdown amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The 39 year old choked up as he paid tribute to the reality star as he said: "My heart goes out to everyone who was trying to help her, especially her best friend.
"Carly, her best friend, I know is really struggling and my heart goes out to her, because I know what it's like to lose a best friend, and you know, especially when you're trying to save them."
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Pete then explained that he was aware Nikki was unwell for some time but was unable to go to help her. He said: "I knew Nikki was ill in the last lockdown, she told me not to say and she was getting care.
"But she rang me up like, 'Pete I'm ill, come and get me from the clinic,' and I was busy at the time."
However, Pete said Nikki also called him during the second lockdown, begging for help. He dropped everything and made his way to her with his girlfriend.
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"But then this second lockdown happens and I remember seeing that fundraiser that Carly and Leon had made, and I was like 'my god she's really really ill man'.
"So I was in London at the time and I just got in the cab and went over there with my girlfriend who's a mental health nurse, and we just tried to give her as much love and support," he said.
Pete continued: "And because it's me, and me and Nikki had a great connection, so I thought the love that I had could boost her up and out of the darkness.
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"This lockdown has been really hard for people with mental health issues, this has really highlighted it."
The TV personality, who previously revealed why he and Nikki split, continued: "Look at what it's done. Know what I mean? Taken one of the best characters the world's ever seen.
"It's just rubbish, man."
Remembering Nikki Grahame
Nikki Grahame dreamt of becoming a mum through IVF before losing her life to anorexia at just 38
He ended his speech by thanking fans for all their support during this difficult time as he said: "So my heart goes out to all her fans, getting so many nice messages and thank you so much for all the lovely support from all her fans and the Big Brother 7 fans.
"And to the rest of the Big Brother cast, we're getting so much love and we really appreciate it.
"I can say that we're all really cut up and I can't really put into words yet, it's still quite a sore subject."
For help and support with eating disorders contact SEED on (01482) 718130 or visit www.seedeatingdisorders.org.uk
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