Big Brother Star Gordon Sloan Dies After An Overdose On Heroin

It is understood that the New Zealand-born Gordon Sloan, who starred in the first series of the Channel 10 reality hit in 2001, died yesterday in a hospital in Beijing, the Chinese capital after taking an overdose of heroin.

According to a source close to Sloan, the former reality star's parents had travelled from their home in New Zealand after their son was admitted to hospital in a coma on September 1.

It is understood the devastated couple opted to turn off the life support that had been keeping their 34-year-old son alive.

While the exact cause of death is yet to be determined, sources said Sloan was believed to have overdosed on heroin.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed a New Zealand-born Australian citizen from Victoria died in Beijing yesterday.

Ben Williams, who won the series in which Sloan featured, described his mate's death as "an absolute tragedy".

"He was a very colourful person and definitely lived life to the max," he said. "It's an absolute tragedy."

Big Brother circles were told about Sloan's hospitalisation on Wednesday, but Williams said his death was "still a terrible shock".

"For his family and immediate circle of friends, it's the worse thing they'll go through," he said.

"But while it's still a shock, we should celebrate his life and the good things he did."

Another Big Brother 2001 star, Pete Timbs, said he had caught up with Sloan in a Sydney bar in June, and had found him to be "as loud and obnoxious as he always was".

"Which was one good thing about Gordon - you always knew where you stood with him," he said.

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

Apart from his stint on Big Brother, Sloan also made the headlines in 2003 when he joined a group of Australians who travelled to Iraq as "human shields" ahead of the war.

Big Brother 2005 runner-up Tim Brunero interviewed Sloan for his website two months ago.

"He was really relaxed and comfortable talking about politics and his time on Big Brother," he said.

"He wasn't in the least bit unhappy.

"He was a pretty out-there character who threw himself into life."

Channel 10 issued a statement offering their condolences. "TEN are very saddened by the news of Gordon's death," it read. "Our thoughts are with his family during this time."

Big Brother host Gretel Killeen is believed to be holidaying overseas and was unable to be contacted yesterday.

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