Tragic Nikki Grahame was cuddling Pingu toy when she died battling eating disorder

Tragic Big Brother star Nikki Grahame struggled with an eating disorder since the age of eight and was admitted to over 17 institutions over the years to get treatment

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Imogen Thomas and Nikki Grahame speak about Pete on Big Brother in 2006

Nikki Grahame spent her last moments cuddling a Pingu toy before she died in hospital, her mum has revealed.

The tragic Big Brother star struggled with an eating disorder since the age of eight and was admitted to over 17 institutions over the years to get treatment.

When lockdown was imposed in 2020, however, her condition worsened and she became very unwell and heavily underweight.

Devastatingly, Nikki died just a year later aged 38 in April 2021.

“When the lockdown came along in 2020, I don’t know if it was premonition or not, but Nikki was really, really scared,” Sue, Nikki’s mum, says. “She knew she was probably going to be isolated and she actually said to me ‘I don’t know how I’m going to get through this’.”

Nikki Grahame tragically died in April 2021, aged just 38



Purdy Smith, a friend of Nikki’s, says: “Lockdown was probably the worst thing that could have happened to Nikki. If lockdown hadn’t happened, we probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”

In a new Channel 4 documentary, airing tonight, Nikki’s mum returns to her flat to sort out her belongings.

Nikki’s mum Sue speaks about her daughter’s struggle


Duncan Stingemore/Angeleye Media)

Giving a tour of the apartment, Sue goes into the bedroom and says: “When I come here and stay in her flat, I sleep here on this bit in her bed, cuddling Pingu, who actually she was cuddling when she died. I cuddle him every night now because it brings me a little closer to Nikki. And I hang [Nikki’s NTAs dress on cupboard door], so I go to sleep with one last look at it and when I wake up, there it is. It is so special to me.”

Imogen Thomas, who appeared on Big Brother with Nikki in 2006, recalls receiving a horrifying call from Nikki in which she said she was suicidal.

Nikki on Big Brother with Grace Adams in 2006



“There was one Sunday morning when she called me and said, ‘Imogen, I just want to die.’ The first thing I done was call the ambulance,” she says. “The paramedics came but she wouldn’t go in the ambulance. The paramedics said to her ‘One day your body will give up Nikki, but we can’t take you against your will’.

“I sometimes think if she had got in that ambulance that day, it could have saved her.”

Nikki was later admitted to hospital after falling over in a chemist, but sadly later died.

“Watching them put my little girl in a bag, taking her down in the lift and I asked them which end her head was,” Sue says. “And I just stroked it from the outside. They took her away and I didn’t see her again. Part of me has died and I miss her, more than I can say.”

*If you’re struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or visit their site to find your local branch

*Nikki Grahame: Who Is She? airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 4

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