Transgender Big Brother star wrongly reported as DEAD after hoax reports
A Big Brother star made an apparent return from the dead after she was wrongly reported as dead today.
Rebekah Shelton, who took part on the reality show in 2009, was reported in several media outlet to have died today.
A statement on her official Twitter account had said: “We’re sorry to inform everyone of the sad news that our wonderful and lovely Rebekah died unexpectedly on Wednesday night.
“We ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time.”
A string of media outlets picked up the story after the official Big Brother account posted a tribute to the star – but in a bizarre twist, she was later confirmed to be alive.
Shelton has deleted the tweet announcing her death, and uploading a video to Twitter confirming she is alive.
She said: “I’m not dead!!!!!! Please stop spreading this news!!!!! My lawyer is already working on this and this person who wants to spoil my happiness is going to pay for it!!!!!”
In the video she explains: “Hi everyone, I want to kindly ask – please stop spreading news that I’m dead, because obviously I’m not. I’ve been through hell today, because someone used my Twitter account to write that stupid status about this.
“This person can’t accept the fact that I’m happy, that I overcame all of my problems, and that I’m finally living my life happy. I’m on holiday, I’m in Arabia, and I’m NOT DEAD.”
It is unclear who sent the tweet.
Fans – who had flooded her feed with tributes – expressed relief that she was still alive.
One message said: “Glad to hear you’re well! Gosh imagine having to do a video to prove you’re alive, the internet is a weird place with some very weird people.”
Shelton previously made headlines when she came out as trans, having transitioned to female in 2012.
She underwent gender surgery in 2014 and spoke publicly about struggling to be accepted as a trans woman.
Her last tweet, sent nearly two months ago, featured a black and white picture of herself.
The reality star has recently been living in Dubai, according to her Twitter profile.
She appeared on ITV show Judge Rinder in 2016 to confront a woman she was accusing of obsessive stalking, and spoke about her long and painful journey to self-acceptance.
She told Judge Rinder: “I was born in Rodrigo. I arrived in England, I didn’t really know how to speak English but I applied for Big Brother. I was the first Brazilian to be part of the show.
“By then [appearing on Big Brother] I don’t think I had accepted myself 100 percent.
“I wasn’t happy with the person I was… [when I was younger] I used to feel like a girl, I used to hang out only with the girls.
“I used to look at myself in the mirror and I was a good looking guy. If I saw me as a guy, I would find myself good-looking, but I wasn’t happy.”
Of transitioning, she said: “It’s hard, nobody will choose to go through the hardest path. Nobody wakes up and says, tomorrow I’m going to be a woman. It’s a hard decision, because you have to face yourself. It’s not easy to be a different person.
“You have to face your family, you have to face society, you have to face jobs because people don’t give opportunities.
“People think it’s easy because she looks good now, and she can go out and have sex with guys or get married, but people don’t know the journey I’ve been through.
“I’ve been through the worst three years of my life, been through 16 surgeries, suffered so much.”
Of being abandoned after undergoing surgery, she said: “I wanted to kill myself, it was a nightmare.”
Speaking previously about his transition, she said: “The only thing I wish is that that my family will learn to accept me.”
“At one point before my surgery I had to leave home, and for six months of my life I turned to prostitution. So many times I wanted to kill myself because I had no one to talk to.
“It was a big step to go full time as a woman. It’s different when you are having fun with your friends in the clubs, to changing your whole life and facing the rejection or acceptance of the world.”