Rebekah Shelton’s traumatic life featured reality TV, drugs, prostitution, surgery and abuse after she transitioned from being Rodrigo Lopes

BIG Brother favourite Rebekah Shelton, formally known as Rodrigo Lopes, sadly died yesterday, aged 32.

The transgender star – who had previously spoken about working as a prostitute and wanting to end her own life – found fame on the show in 2009 before starting to live as a woman in 2012, undergoing gender reassignment surgery two years later.

The news was announced on Rebekah's Twitter page on Friday morning.

The post 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."

Troubled Rebekah had previously opened up about struggling to cope whilst living as a woman and having turned to prostitution to pay for her sex change.

She said: "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."

Rebekah also battled drug abuse, taking ketamine, cocaine and ecstasy on a regular basis, and spending a short spell in rehab.

Entering the house as Rodrigo in 2009, the student endeared herself to fans with her obsession with the Queen and British culture.

She had been studying in Leeds and came fifth on the show.

She later said she moved back to her native Brazil as she was "lonely" living in London.

Speaking to Heat magazine, Rebekah said: "I have nothing. I came back to Brazil because I am so lonely in London and wanted help from my family – but they can't accept me as a woman."

Opening up about her desperate situation, she said: "I go for interviews for bar work, and they see me and then my documents showing me as a boy.

"They say they'll call me but they never do. I have a degree in TV production, but I can't even get bar work."

She admitted that the money she earned from working as a prostitute – often seeing three men a day – was paying for her gender reassignment surgery.

Rebekah admitted she often feared for her safety, saying she "grew to love" one of her clients, "but I found out he was a liar and a cheat and he beat me up."

The reality star posted a selfie to her Twitter in 2015 saying she wanted to end her her life.

She captioned the image: "My dad has chucked me out of home. I feel lost. Took tablets to die but I'm still alive. I lost everything even beauty."

She had previously told OK! Online that her father had struggled to accept her transition.

She said: "The only thing I wish is that my family will learn to accept me. My dad is finding it hard – even though he loves me."

In a further dramatic twist, Rebekah was critically ill in hospital in 2014 after doctors discovered a brain tumour and she slipped into a coma.

It is thought she was currently living in Dubai.

She was last on TV in 2016, appearing on Judge Rinder as a defendant after her friend claimed she owed her money, which she lent Rebekah to pay for her boob job.

She said on the show: "I've been through the worst three years of my life. I've had 16 surgeries. I've suffered so much."

Despite her struggles, Rebekah had been optimistic about her future when speaking to Heat in 2014.

She admitted: "My dream is to get married and adopt a child. I just want to be loved for me."


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