23 Mar 2009

Reality TV star Jade Goody dies of cancer

2:28 pm on 23 March 2009

Controversial British reality TV star Jade Goody died of cervical cancer on Sunday, at the age of 27.

The mother of two, who married her boyfriend in a televised ceremony only last month, died in her sleep at her home in Essex, in south-east England.

Goody shot to fame in 2002 after appearing in Big Brother, a reality show in which people are locked in a house and their every move televised.

Initially ridiculed for her apparent lack of education - she thought Saddam Hussein was a boxer and a ferret was a bird - and criticised for her behaviour towards fellow competitors, she gradually won the public over with a straight-talking style.

She went on to become a regular in gossip magazines, wrote an autobiography and launched her own perfume, but her popularity sank in 2007 after racially charged tirades against Indian housemate Shilpa Shetty in Celebrity Big Brother.

It was during an appearance on an Indian version of Big Brother in August last year that she learned that she had cervical cancer. She dropped out of the show to return to Britain for treatment and later learned the cancer was terminal.

Goody's decision to die in the public gaze, in order to earn as much money as possible for her two sons, has seen her popularity broadly restored.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown joined the tributes that poured in after her death, saying his thoughts went out to her family.