In the News
Living – and Dying – in the Spotlight
Jade Goody, Brit reality-show villain and sympathetic cancer victim, passes away
Jade Goody died in her sleep on Sunday. The British reality-show star whose battle with cervical cancer has made news all over the world passed away with her husband, mother and two young sons at her side. Sunday was Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom.
Jade, who was 27, became well known in Britain in 2002 on the British version of Big Brother. Always feisty, outspoken and, often, controversial, she always made news for British newspapers and magazines. After her stint on Big Brother, she went on to write an autobiography, diet and cookbooks and appeared frequently on television. She even launched her own perfume. Many considered her vulgar and grasping, but the British public liked her honesty and humor.
In August, while a cast member of the Indian version of Big Brother, she discovered she had ovarian cancer. She returned to Britain for treatment, but her prognosis was grim. She announced she had only weeks to live and continued to make daily headlines. She married her boyfriend, Jack Tweed, who was given early release from prison, in a ceremony that was filmed by British TV. The photos of the wedding were sold to a magazine for nearly a million dollars. She also sold photographs of her two sons’ recent baptism.
Jade is also credited in raising awareness of cervical cancer. In recent months many women in Britain have had screening tests for the disease. Her publicist, Max Clifford, said, “Her legacy will be that a lot of women owe their lives to Jade Goody because of her public announcement and battle against cervical cancer.” He continued, ” She has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world, from Australia to America and everywhere else.”
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by Goody’s death. “Her family can be extremely proud of the work she has done … Every death from cancer is a tragedy and my thoughts go out to her two sons, husband and family at this time.”
Controversy followed her to the very end when a British magazine OK! published a memorial issue about her a week before she died. A book about her last days will be published in a few months. Her funeral is being called a “Jade Goody Production.”
Clifford said Goody had loved her time in the spotlight. “I think they’ve (she and the media) exploited each other. Both have benefited. In Jade’s own words, she’s loved the last 7 years. They’ve been wonderful. All the people’s she’s met, all the things she’s done.”