LONDON (Reuters) – Indian actress Shilpa Shetty will fly to Britain next week to visit Jade Goody, her former Celebrity Big Brother housemate who is dying of cancer, Goody’s publicist Max Clifford said on Saturday.
Shetty, a Bollywood superstar, is due on Tuesday as part of a long-planned trip that will now give her a chance to see Goody, who has described herself as days away from death.
“Shilpa has spoken to Jade a few times in recent weeks — they’ve gotten very close over the past year or so — and while she’s here in Britain she’ll visit Jade,” Clifford told Reuters.
Goody, 27, left the Royal Marsden Hospital in London this week and was moved to her home in Essex, north of London, where she is expected to remain until she dies.
Clifford described her as “very weak, really very ill” and said she was being cared for by nurses and her mother. Her husband Jack Tweed, 21, who she married last month, also visits when his police curfew allows.
Goody, a former dental assistant who became a nationwide celebrity after appearing in Big Brother in 2002, has had almost every element of her life examined in the tabloid newspapers, gossip magazines and on television since announcing last month that she had terminal cervical cancer.
The endless coverage has led to concerns Britain has become too celebrity obsessed, with someone who was unheard of a few years ago, and even now is only famous for being famous, leading news bulletins and filling front pages.
Goody and Shetty met when they appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007.
The programme became notorious after Goody hurled abuse at Shetty, making fun of her name and her Indian origins. Goody was branded a racist and vilified in the press, but later apologized and worked to regain public popularity.
She even travelled to India to try to make amends for her comments, and it was during an appearance on an Indian version of Big Brother than she learned last year that she had cancer.
Goody last month sold the rights to her wedding to a TV channel and a gossip magazine, saying she planned to use the money to pay to give her two young children a decent education.
Bald from chemotherapy and too weak to move, it is widely believed that Goody could die in the coming days or weeks.
The details of the funeral have already been worked out, and the event is expected to be covered in the manner of a state funeral by Britain’s broadcasters and tabloid newspapers.