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Reality TV suicide raises care issues

TF1 says death of former Secret Story star 'had nothing to do with television' - but fellow contestants disagree

QUESTIONS have been raised about television producers' duty of care after a contestant in the French version of reality TV show Big Brother killed himself.

François-Xavier Leuridan, known as FX, was one of the stars of the third season of Secret Story, which was produced by Endemol and broadcast on TF1 in 2009.

The 22-year-old, originally from Guadeloupe, committeed suicide on Monday night when he walked in front of a car on a busy road in Bouée, near Nantes.

Fellow contestants on the series say he had been suffering from depression since leaving the house and had found it difficult to readjust to public life.

Cindy Lopès told Le Figaro: "Fame is poisonous. One day it all disappears and you're alone. Even your close friends don't look at you in the same way."

Another contestant, Martin Medus, added: "They say you'll be looked after by a psychiatrist before and after your time in the house. But in reality, I just received a letter three months after the series ended saying: 'If you're unhappy, call this number'."

TF1 commissioning editor for reality TV Angela Lorente told Le Parisien: "We are thinking of his family. These were personal circumstances that had nothing to do with television. It would be wrong to mix up the two."

Endemol, which is also behind the UK version of Big Brother, said in a statement: "We are very saddened by the news that François-Xavier has died. He was a candidate known for his good humour, energy and originality and he appealed to many people."

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