British reality television star Jade Goody died in her sleep early yesterday aged just 27, her publicist said, after a very public battle with cervical cancer.
Goody died at her home in Upshire, Essex, southeast England, at 3:14am on Britain’s Mother’s Day, with husband Jack Tweed and mother Jackiey Budden by her side.
“I think she’s going to be remembered as a young girl who has, and who will, save an awful lot of lives,” her publicist Max Clifford said, referring to how her battle with cancer has raised awareness of the disease.
“She was a very, very brave girl. And she faced her death in the way she faced her whole life — full on, with a lot of courage.”
Goody, an ex-dental nurse from south London, first
found fame on Britain’s Big Brother reality television program in 2002.
But her career was nearly ruined when she subjected Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty to racist bullying on the celebrity edition of the show in 2007, referring to her as “Shilpa Poppadom.”
The two subsequently made peace, with Goody appearing on the Indian Big Brother — Bigg Boss — although she pulled out after being told she had cancer.
Shetty has said she was “sad” about Goody’s illness and had hoped to visit her last week while on a trip to Britain.
Goody’s decision to live out her final weeks in the public eye prompted many commentators uncomfortable with the coverage to raise questions about the ethics of reality television.
But she won the hearts of many Britons — and was responsible for a huge jump in the number of young women taking tests for cervical cancer.
Goody married Tweed — a 21-year-old aspiring footballers’ agent who was jailed last year for attacking a teenager with a golf club — on Feb. 22, nine days after he proposed in hospital following her terminal diagnosis.
Media rights for the lavish ceremony at a country house hotel north of London were reportedly sold for US$1.4 million.
Goody plus sons Bobby, five, and Freddy, four — who she had with her ex-boyfriend, television presenter Jeff Brazier — were christened on March 7, another event captured by a magazine.
Goody often said she was seeking publicity not for herself, but as a way to secure her
sons’ financial future when she was gone.
Her case reportedly led to a 20 percent rise in the number of young women taking smear tests which can detect cervical cancer.
US actor Harrison Ford is engaged to be married to longtime girlfriend Calista Flockhart, People magazine reported on Saturday.
It quoted sources close to the couple as saying Ford, 66, surprised girlfriend Flockhart, 44, with an engagement ring during the Valentine’s Day weekend while they were away on a family vacation with son Liam.
The couple has been together for 7 1/2 years.
No wedding date has yet been set, the magazine said.
Agents for South Korean star singer and actor Rain said on Friday they are consulting their lawyers after a US court ordered them to pay more than US$8 million for canceling a concert in Honolulu in 2007.
“This is a result we would never have expected,” Jung Wook, president of JYP Entertainment, told Yonhap news agency.
“We will decide our future course of legal action in a few days after discussing it with attorneys who are on their way back (to Seoul).”
On Thursday a Honolulu federal jury found Rain and his agency had breached a contract with Click Entertainment to perform a concert almost two years ago. It ordered them to pay the Hawaiian promoter punitive damages and compensation.