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Monday Sep 17 02:18 AEST

Mystery surrounds Big Brother star Gordon's death

Thursday Sep 13 18:00 AEST
Gordon Sloan (Image supplied)
By Emma Chamberlain
ninemsn exclusive

Original Big Brother contestant Gordon Sloan has died in Beijing after collapsing in mysterious circumstances 12 days ago.

Sloan, who starred in the first series of the reality show in 2001, died at 1pm (AEST) yesterday at a city hospital.

ninemsn understands the 34-year-old architect was admitted on September 1 and was in a coma when he died.

Sources told ninemsn drugs were suspected in the death and that Sloan might have taken an overdose or been deliberately drugged by another person.

Mr Sloan's parents, who had travelled to Beijing from their native New Zealand, could not be contacted this afternoon for comment on the drug claims.

Earlier today, they declined to comment on their son's death.

"[The Sloans] were not surprised that the press was interested because of Gordon's appearance on Big Brother," a spokesperson for the couple said.

"They said that at this stage they did not want to talk to the press and would be grateful if the press could respect their privacy at this time."

Fellow Big Brother contestant Todd James said his friend's death "was a terrible waste".

"It's a terrible loss. Gordon was a big part of his friend's lives. He would have — and did — moved heaven and earth for his friends," he said.

Another 2001 contestant, Peter Timms, said he was shocked to learn Sloan "had died like that".

Timms last saw Sloan at a bar in Sydney three months ago and said "he was as loud and obnoxious as he always was".

"Which was one good thing about Gordon — you always knew where you stood with him."

"He stood up for what he believed in, whether it was right or wrong."

A spokesperson for Big Brother producers Endemol Southern Star said Gordon was a great character.

"It's tragic news. Our thoughts are with his family."

DFAT confirmed a New Zealand-born Australian citizen from Victoria died in Beijing yesterday. The consulate in Beijing is providing support for the family.

Mr Sloan's brother and sister had also travelled to Beijing to be with him.

Known as "Flash Gordon" and "Donkey Boy" during his time in the Big Brother house, Mr Sloan was evicted after 35 days.

Ben Williams went on to win the 2001 season best remembered for contestant Sara-Marie Fedele’s "bum dance".

One year after his appearance on Big Brother, Mr Sloan gave up his job as an architect in Sydney to join a "human shield" protest in Baghdad.

The group planned to make camp at predicted US bombing targets such as water treatment plants in support of the Iraqi people.

Reflecting on his time in the house, Sloan told a Big Brother fan site he did not consider himself famous.

"Fame is a word given to people who've overachieved through natural talent and hard work, and gained the respect and admiration of firstly their peer group, then the world," he said.

"We are not famous or talented. We are popular by exposure so TV networks can sell furniture and breakfast radio gets its sound bites!"

Donna Mulhearn, a close friend of Sloan's, told AAP that his life support machine was turned off by the hospital yesterday.

A service is being held in Randwick next week when his body returns from China, Ms Mulhearn said.

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