Sophie Gradon was a well-known figure in the United Kingdom – mainly due to her stint on the controversial show Love Island.
At the age of just 32, she tragically lost her life. She developed mental health problems after appearing on Love Island, culminating in her untimely death in June 2018.
In an added tragedy, her boyfriend at the time of her death, Aaron Armstrong, sadly died just weeks after, having been crippled by grief.
Gradon was born in Newcastle, England. She enjoyed success as a young adult in beauty pageants – having been Miss Newcastle in 2008, and Miss Great Britain in 2009.
Over the next few years, she worked in marketing, and helped raise money for several charitable causes.
In 2016, Gradon entered the public eye after appearing on the popular, yet controversial, TV show Love Island. The show involved various individuals “coupling-up” with one another, alongside a series of tasks and challenges.
Gradon had a tough time on the show, with tensions rising on the island, leading to many tears being shed by Gradon. The show was heavily discussed on social media, making Gradon and her co-stars overnight sensations.
Mental Health Problems
However, Gradon’s struggles on the show seemed to pave the way for mental health problems to develop. Indeed, Love Island has been linked to numerous deaths.
Poor aftercare by producers had been cited as a particular problem. Gradon’s parents suggested that their daughter’s only contact with producers had been a “10-minute Skype call”.
The parents also alleged that Sophie had wanted to leave the show on four occasions, but ended up staying the first three times, before finally getting her wish.
Gradon would continue to be well-known throughout the UK over the next few years. In early 2018, she candidly spoke about the cyberbullying she had received since competing on Love Island.
She revealed there were a huge amount of “negative comments” about her. Given the show’s immense popularity, it is known that the contestants are discussed substantially on social media.
Just five days before her death, Gradon posted a haunting message on Twitter, which showed where her mind was. It read “I genuinely feel that when true & honest human souls get taken away from us, they are the ones who have found the meaning of life”.
Tragically, Sophie Gradon was found dead on 20 June 2018, passing away at just 32. She had taken her own life. Her inquest found that she had consumed a high level of alcohol and taken cocaine in the hours prior to her death.
She was found by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong – who she had been dating for around two months. The two had appeared to fall in love deeply in that time.
In the hours prior to her death, she had been texting Armstrong, during which she mentioned her suicidal thoughts, including saying that she couldn’t “do this any more”.
In the early hours of the day, she also said “I would never want to do that to my family but if I could escape I would”. At the time, Gradon was taking medication for Social Anxiety Disorder.
At some point over the next few hours, Gradon sadly took her own life. It left her family, friends and fans devastated.
Her death led to many condolences, and raised questions regarding if TV producers were doing enough to help ex-contestants in need.
It also showed the impact drugs can have, with a coroner pointing to research from the US which states someone who consumes both cocaine and alcohol are “16 times more likely” to take their life, due to the increase in violent thoughts.
The show’s reputation took further hits with the later deaths of ex-contestant Mike Thalassitis, and ex-presenter Caroline Flack. Both took their own lives.
Under three weeks after Gradon’s death, her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong also took his own life. He also had alcohol and cocaine in his system.
His social media profile had become somewhat of a shrine after Gradon’s death – he was clearly left utterly devastated by her death. Having found Gradon too, he would’ve experienced a significant trauma.
This double tragedy left both extended families bereft. The combination of grief and drugs clearly impacted Armstrong, who died in the same way as his beloved partner.
Losing both Sophie Gradon and Aaron Armstrong was a tragic loss, and is a reminder of how negative comments can leave a big impact on someone, and how a loss can lead to unmanageable grief.
On a bright note, the hope is that the duo have been reunited again, and will be together forever. Nevertheless, this case was a total tragedy.
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